- Associated Press - Thursday, June 28, 2018

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) - More than a dozen vases have been confirmed stolen from an eastern Iowa cemetery, but up to 50 could be missing, according to the cemetery manager.

Cindy Allen told the Muscatine Journal that she filed a police report last week for the theft of 15-20 vases from Muscatine Memorial Park before noticing there could be more. She said a family alerted cemetery staff to their missing vase, then she and groundskeepers noticed more were gone.

The vases, which are chained to markers at the cemetery, are 10 inches (254 millimeters) tall and weigh up to 8 pounds (4 kilograms). Allen said it would be difficult to leave the cemetery with the vases undetected. She suspects the thefts happened at night.

“It’s sad, it’s just really sad,” Allen said. “You want to protect all the families that are here, but I don’t know how you can do it.”

Allen said each vase can cost up to $650 to replace. She said the only replacement options for families are to purchase a new vase or leave the space empty.

“Because it’s stolen, we’re not liable,” Allen said.

Muscatine Police Chief Brett Talkington said that a person caught taking the vases would face charges. He said his department is trying to better monitor the area.

Property theft of more than $500 but less than $1,000 is theft in the third degree, an aggravated misdemeanor, according to Iowa code. Someone charged with an aggravated misdemeanor could face up to two years in jail.


Information from: Muscatine Journal, http://www.muscatinejournal.com

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