LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB)-- A case of disrespect for the dead, as flower vases and headstones placed for loved ones are taken from the Louisville Memorial Gardens in Shively.
Cemetery officials and family members believe it's an ongoing problem and it's one they won't stand for.
Officials think people are stealing the items to try and get money for scrap metal and they're taking action to try and put a stop to it.
"I came out to check my parent's site on Sunday and there were numerous vases missing from other sites and their surrounding area," said Donna Masterson.
Several graves have empty holes where the vases used to be.
Donna Masterson's parents are buried here.
She visits often and says although her parent's graves haven't been vandalized, she's afraid they're next.
"It's pretty heart wrenching. When I first got word this was going on and I came to check out my parent's. It just made me sick," said Masterson.
"We have caught some people that have stolen some vases here," said Rita Augentstein with Louisville Memorial Gardens.
Augenstein has been with Louisville Memorial Gardens for 40 years and says she believes the problem has increased.
"I think it has gotten worse because metal has increased in price and the way times are, people are hurting for money," said Augenstein.
The scrap metal yards WDRB talked to say they don't accept any items that come from cemeteries.
They also turn away most items that have been melted down.
Augenstein says vases aren't the only thing being stolen.
One grave recently had the entire headstone pried off.
"When we find out something has been stolen, we usually contact Shively police," Augenstein told WDRB.
She says Shively Police patrol their 67 acres day and night.
Augenstein and Masterson say thieves should think twice before they steal anywhere, but especially from a cemetery.
"The Karma bus is going to come for them. I mean this is bad, bad stuff," said Masterson.
"You should put yourself in how I feel. In my shoes. I just think it's very sad that people would do that," said Augenstein.
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