Railway bandits, church bell thieves, pirates and now grave robbers? This current recession stands to send the Barbary Coast in to a state of complete recycling lawlessness. As the Chronicle reports this afternoon, metal thieves made off with over 525 bronze vases stolen from graves in two separate heists at the massive Cypress Lawn Cemetery this month. All told, the vases are valued at over $85,000 according to Colma Police.
Assuming they're going to be melted down for scrap and sold off for drug money, the raw metal from the 8-pound vases is expected to fetch a mere $4,000 total at a scrapyard or recycling center. The vases, which are designed to be easily removed by families of the deceased, were taken over two nights in February: 225 of them first disappeared on the night of February 3rd, and another 300 went missing from a separate part of the cemetery on February 18th. To protect the other 9,500 bronze vases in the cemetery, Colma PD and the cemetery's own security team are increasing their security patrols.
In the meantime, Cypress Lawn is replacing the stolen vases on their dime and is considering welding them in place. As Cemetery President Ken Varner told the Chronicle, "This is really the worst case of vandalism we've ever had... It is terrible. It looks terrible and, more than anything, it is terrible for the families."