‘They need to stop doing it’: 300 bronze vases reported stolen from Henrico cemetery

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 11:12 PM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Those with loved ones buried at Washington Memorial Park in Sandston are frustrated after 300 bronze vases were stolen from gravestones over the last six weeks.

“I don’t know why they’re doing it, but they need to stop doing it,” Jennifer Tate, who has family buried in different sections of the cemetery, said.

The wave of robberies is causing Tate and others to check back in on their loved ones more often just to be cautious.

“You [want to] make sure all of your flowers are still here and make sure you know that everything is still left behind for your loved ones,” Tate said.

The cemetery said the thefts have been reported to the Henrico County Police Department, and they are actively working to contact impacted families.

They believe those taking the vases are selling them for scrap metal.

Tate said she has not been a victim yet but has spoken to others who are.

She said for those affected, it’s frustrating to see this happen when hard work is put in to maintain a site for those no longer here.

“Hard Money into it on top of it,” Tate said.

The cemetery is located off Memorial Drive, and Tate said she’s not sure if being so close to the road adds to the graveyard being so vulnerable.

That’s why she’d like to see some sort of fence or gate in place.

“Hopefully, we can do something like that or put cameras out here at Washington so they can watch and keep an eye out on it,” Tate said.

The rules are posted, no visiting after sunset, but Tate wants those who try to steal those vases next time to just think about what they’re doing.

“What if it’s your loved one that you’re taking the vases from, or somebody is taking the vases from your loved ones,” Tate said. “That’s how we are feeling, and we’re the ones that have to deal with it. Please stay out of Washington Memorial Cemetery!”

In a statement, the cemetery asked scrap metal dealers to be cautious of buying from people trying to sell bronze vases.

Henrico Police ask if you know anything to contact Det. C. Andrews at (804) 501-4865 or call Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000.