Cemetery rocked by 'disgusting' act from opportunistic thieves

This is not the first time gravesides have been targeted in the area.

A cemetery in southwest Sydney has been targeted by thieves with "hundreds" of families having parts of their relatives' memorial plaques stolen.

Bronze vases, which sit underground within memorial plaques, have been reported missing from Forest Lawn Memorial Park at Edmondson Park. It is believed a group of individuals are behind the theft with the motive to resell the pieces as scrap metal.

While the financial extent of the theft is unknown at this stage, similar incidents have cost cemeteries more than $300,000.

Sydney woman Nicole Futcher visited her grandmother's plaque on Sunday only to find her vase was one of the latest to have been stolen from the grounds.

A large hole can be seen at the top right side of a memorial plaque at the Sydney cemetery.
The Sydney cemetery has had 'hundreds' of bronze vases stolen from memorial plaques. Source: Facebook

"I was in shock when I seen it was gone, then I seen many others around her missing as well," she told Yahoo News Australia. "I thought maybe the cemetery was replacing them all."

When Nicole approached ground staff to ask where the vases were, she was informed they had all been stolen.

"That was the last thing I would have thought had happened," she said, calling the behaviour "disgusting".

"It's a sad world."

Memorial park forced to replace vase with cheaper alternative

It is believed families who have had their relative's vases stolen by the unknown offenders have been provided with another vase made from a cheaper material.

"It's the same thing just plastic," Nicole said, despite her family paying for a bronze vase at the time of her grandmother's passing.

Graves can be seen a Forest Lawn Memorial Park with water.
Forest Lawn Memorial Park confirmed they have contacted police after many vases went missing from gravesides. Source: Facebook

Forest Lawn Memorial Park confirmed they are aware of the issue and have notified authorities.

“We provide vases to our families for their loved one’s memorials and over a period of time we have had an issue with vases going missing," a spokesperson told Yahoo. "The issue has been escalated to the police and is currently under investigation.”

Yahoo has contacted NSW Police regarding the theft.

History of stolen vases from gravesides in western Sydney

This is not the first time bronze vases have been stolen from gravesides in Sydney's west, with up to 600 vases stolen in 2015 from Pinegrove Memorial Park, the Daily Telegraph reported. The vases stolen from the cemetery in Minchinbury were estimated to be worth $330,000, with Castlebrook Memorial Park in Rouse Hill also having vases stolen in the same year.

Bronze vases at memorial parks are often removable and not attached to plaques in case they are accidentally caught by machinery used by groundskeepers, which can result in the entire plaque being removed from the ground.

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