They are already grieving and now some Ottawa families feel as though they've lost their loved one again.
Modern day grave robbers have pillaged their family plots and stolen the bronze vases attached to the grave markers. This happened at Capital Memorial Gardens at 3700 Prince of Wales Drive.
82-year-old Lucille Hannah was visiting her husband's grave last week with her daughter Valerie to place some flowers. But there wasn't anywhere to put the flowers anymore; just a hole.
“We did brief walk around and noticed several holes in several grave markers,” says Valerie Hannah, “and thought someone has come around and stole them all.”
Several bronze vases were missing, from her father's grave marker, who died of brain cancer 16 years ago, from her aunt's grave marker, who passed away a few years ago from ALS, and from others all around the adjacent area.
“I thought how disgusting it was to steal from the dead,” says Valerie, “They're not here to protect themselves, it's just a very low thing to do.”
Lucille Hannah adds, “It's disheartening that someone would do that. I mean, it’s a cemetery, you know?”
No one from Capital Memorial Gardens was available to speak with us but they have reported the theft to the Ottawa Police.
Constable Marc Soucy says the cemetery filed the report October 2 that several brass vases had been stolen, “The theft of metal does happen. It goes with the fluctuation of the price of metal and if the price of a specific metal is high, we will see an increase in the theft of that metal.”
This isn't the only cemetery that has been hit in Canada. In Surrey, B.C. in May, more than one hundred bronze vases were stolen. According to a cemetery in Ottawa, the replacement value is between $300 and $500. Whoever is stealing them, though, is reselling them for a fraction of that.
Bronze currently sells for about $1.70 a pound so the vases could fetch maybe $10 to $20 each. Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, which currently sells for about $3 a pound. In the U.S., the theft of these bronze vases is sadly becoming big business.
“I think it's cowardly that someone would steal stuff from someone’s grave site,” says one American man, whose wife’s grave marker was robbed, “and they ought to be put in jail.”
The Hannahs would second that sentiment.
“It's an empty feeling,” says Valerie Hannah, as she and her mother as they stand over the graves of their loved ones.
The families will have to bear the cost of replacing the vase. The Hannahs says they will probably buy plastic now instead of bronze. Nothing, though, can replace that feeling of loss.
“It's like they're stolen from you again,” whispers Valerie Hannah.
CTV Ottawa checked with other cemeteries around Ottawa. None others have reported similar theft.