SCRANTON -- Many of the hundreds of gravesites at Cathedral Cemetery in west Scranton look a little brighter this week many families placed Easter flowers and crosses at the sites over the weekend.
But, some families told cemetery administrators that they found something missing at their sites over the Easter holiday it's not an isolated problem.
Bronze vases that usually come custom with grave markers are missing all over the cemetery. Holes are left where the vases should be.
"In the springtime, now that all the snow is gone and people are coming out to visit graves again after the long cold winter, that's when they notice these are gone a lot of times," said Kevin Beck, superintendent of Cathedral Cemetery.
Beck says they had some families report missing vases over the weekend but it's an escalating problem. As the economy's been down and the price of bronze up it seems anything not bolted down is stolen. He says over the last five years or so, hundreds of the bronze vases have been stolen. In one section alone, almost all of them are gone.
"You're going up there to take care of your loved one's grave and then you find that your vase is stolen, it's just very upsetting," Donna Healey said.
Healey works at Pesavento and Sons, a company that sells headstones right next to Cathedral Cemetery. They've started telling customers to buy aluminum vases instead of the bronze ones that cost about $300. But, at most of the gravesites now, you won't see any vases at all.
"A lot of people choose not to, just because of cost value and they're afraid they will get stolen again. So, until the thefts stop a lot of people won't replace them," Beck said.
Cemetery administrators say they've reported many of the thefts to police in the past but these thieves are very hard to catch.
Next, folks from the cemetery want to make an appeal to companies that buy scrap metal if they see a bronze vase, it's most likely stolen.