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Posted: 7:56 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012
COLMA, Calif. —
When Karen Perkin came to Cypress Lawn Cemetery Tuesday to visit the grave of her friend Shinika Westry, she told KTVU she couldn't believe what was missing from the gravesite.
Instead of a bronze vase in her friend's tombstone, there was just a hole.
"I was blown away. Because...this is horrible," said Perkins
Perkins called Shinika's family.
"This is where we come for peace and to see her," said Tiffany Westry, shaking her head. "It is terrible somebody would do something like this."
Police told KTVU some 525 vases have been stolen from the cemetery The vases disappeared over two different nights this month. Thieves targeted the vases for their metal.
4,000 pounds of bronze vases worth about $85,000 in all are gone.
Cmdr. Jon Read said Colma police were checking with recycling centers across the Bay Area.
Cypress Lawn said it has guards patrolling the grounds, but is now taking steps to improve security.
"There are things we are going to do with our security patrol to hopefully persuade folks not to attempt to steal our vases," said Kenneth Varner, who works at the cemetery.
But Shinika's relatives were upset that Cypress Lawn never notified them about what happened. Like other families, they found out on their own.
"The last thing you want to do is come and see this," said Tiffany Westry.
But Varner said it isn't always clear from cemetary records who to contact.Cypress Lawn said it will replace all 525 stolen vases in the hopes that the victims can once again rest in peace.
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