Cameras to catch cemetery crooks out to steal bronze vases

It happened to Rosie Olivarez. "That's the hole," she said. Gavin Perez is a victim too. "Someone cruel and cold-hearted," he said. Both have been left in disbelief after their loved ones final resting place is targeted by thieves. "They don't let those people rest in peace," Rosie said in an interview in October at Mont Meta Memorial Park in San Benito. "And there's nothing we can do." That is until now. 7 cemeteries across the Rio Grande Valley, all owned by the same company, are responding to the increase in bronze vase thefts by better securing their properties. "Since the problem is ongoing, we wanted to install security cameras in strategic areas," Jessica McDunn, corporate communications spokesperson for Service Corporation International said. Jessica wouldn't reveal where the cameras are located or how many have been installed to keep potential criminals guessing. She says they're already up in places like Mont Meta Memorial Park in San Benito where Rosie is out $400 at her daughter-in-law's grave site. "They can't put in flowers no more," she said. Cameras have also been installed at Restlawn Memorial Park in La Feria where Gavin's grandparents are buried with a hole now in the ground where their vases once stood. "They don't have anything better to do," he said. "They [thieves] probably needed money and that's the only way I guess they can make their money." Cemeteries are moving towards using low cost materials for vases that are just as durable and appealing as bronze ones. Jessica says they are virtually worthless to thieves who want to cash them in at scrap metal yards because they have no copper or other valuable metals. The problem with bronze vase thefts stretches nationwide. Cemeteries warn all wanna-be thieves that big brother's watching. The list of cemeteries with cameras installed include: Buena Vista Burial Park, Highland Memorial Park, Valley Memorial Gardens, Palm Valley Memorial Gardens, Restlawn Memorial Park, Mont Meta Memorial Park and Rose Lawn Memorial Gardens. Theft victims are encouraged to contact police. The replacement vase option is available to anyone at the cemeteries listed above, along with first time purchasers, according to Jessica.