Updated: Wednesday, 28 Nov 2012, 5:51 PM EST
Published : Wednesday, 28 Nov 2012, 5:51 PM EST
PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - Evergreen Memorial Park on High Street in Portsmouth is a small plot of land, but it's home for Barry Gartman's parents.
"I'm there every other month or so, I put out flags for all the occasions," Gartman said.
Gartman also puts out flowers, but he noticed a vase, placed by his parents' graves, was missing. He found out he is not the only victim. A woman told him three vases are missing from her relatives' graves.
The disappearance of the copper vases could be the work of a copper thief.
WAVY.com checked with a company that sells the vases and learned they are mostly copper. Local scrap metal yards say copper goes for about $2.60 per pound. The vases cost about $350 each to replace.
"The money is not the big deal," Gartman said. "It's somebody going there and destroying something at a grave site, they ought to be shot."
A Chesapeake judge sentenced one couple for stealing 70 vases from another cemetery last year. Michael Cardona got four years in prison and Holly Chandler got 30 days.
After their crime spree, metal yards started asking for letters from cemeteries or manufacturers saying a vase is okay to sell.
Gartman says he won't rest until the person who defiled his parents' graves gets caught.
WAVY.com tried to contact the cemetery to ask about security and fencing that was recently taken down but was unable to reach them.
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