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'Who would do this? It's just so disrespectful:' Thieves target vases at local cemeteries

Posted at 7:43 PM, Nov 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-13 20:43:19-05

MENOMONEE FALLS — More than 200 bronze vases are missing from local cemeteries.

Saint Anthony's Cemetery in Menomonee Falls reported 27 bronze vases were missing or stolen at the start of November.

John Pendergast says his brother was the first to notice something was amiss at their parents' gravesite.

"Who would do this? It's just so disrespectful," said Pendergast.

"He noticed the flowers were in the hole but the vase was gone. He went around and looked around at some of the other neighboring gravesites and he saw that all the vases were gone," Pendergast explained.

Pendergast figured the vases were taken to be sold as scrap metal.

About 10 minutes away and within a matter of days, a similar heist was discovered in Wauwatosa.

Workers at Pinelawn Memorial Park say more than 200 bronze vases were taken from their cemetery. Each one costs a few hundred dollars. They estimate about $80,000 worth of vases were stolen.

"Isn't it something? You wonder what kind of people would do that," said Jeffrey Van Pembrock.

Van Pembrock visited Pinelawn to check on his family's two vases. Thankfully, they were still there and he took them home for safekeeping.

"They are not cheap to start with, and it's something that special to the individual themselves," said Van Pembrock.

As police in both communities continue to investigate the thefts it was unclear if the cases are connected.

Scrap yards were alerted to the crimes.