Flower vases valued at hundreds of dollars stolen from Winston-Salem cemetery

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Thieves have stolen flower vases off of dozens of graves at a Winston-Salem cemetery.

Winston-Salem police say they are investigating the incidents, which happened at Oaklawn Memorial Gardens. However, they have not been able to provide FOX8 with a timetable as to when the thefts occurred or how many people have been affected.

People with loved ones buried there tell FOX8 that as many as 150 vases appear to have been stolen.

“As I was walking I noticed vases were missing, and markers, and I - in my mind - am thinking, ‘Oh no,’” said Yvonne Coffey, who has family members buried at three separate spots at the cemetery. “As I got closer I realized, ours is gone too.”

On Tuesday, stray bouquets of flowers - with no vases left to hold them - could be seen blowing in the wind.

“It’s disheartening to know that someone would come steal from somebody that can’t defend themselves,” Coffey said.

She later said that it will cost about $400 to replace each vase, so that’s an expense of about $1,200 for her family.

“We just wanted to get the word out, to the families, because we know it’s getting closer to Easter time,” she said. “You probably should come check over at Oaklawn before you just appear over here expecting to have a place to put your flowers.”

A company spokesperson issued the following statement:

"We take acts of vandalism or theft at our properties very seriously and have reported this matter to local police who are looking into it. Our thoughts are with any families impacted by the removal of the flower vases."

“They’re going to know somebody saw them do it,” Coffey said, of the person(s) responsible. “It might not be here, but a later life they will know.”

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