- Associated Press - Friday, January 30, 2015

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Authorities are investigating the theft of 30 bronze vases from a Norman cemetery, and officials say more than 200 other vases have been stolen recently in central Oklahoma.

Cleveland County Sheriff Joe Lester told the Norman Transcript that 30 vases were taken from the Sunset Memorial Park between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning. Most were from the “Little Angels” section where children are buried. Other vases were from veterans’ graves. Losses are estimated at $6,750.

“Stealing vases from children’s and military veterans’ graves is disrespectful and unthinkable,” Lester said.

The Oklahoman newspaper reported the thefts are among similar crimes in the area.

John Davenport, speaking on behalf of three Oklahoma City cemeteries and a Norman cemetery, estimated about 250 vases have gone missing in recent months.

“It’s been a constant problem, but the thefts have increased drastically in recent weeks,” he told The Oklahoman. “It’s a despicable crime.”

Some of the vases have shown up at a recycling center and sold for $3 to $4 each, Oklahoma City police Inspector Martin Stupka said.

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