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What's Bugging You? Urn thefts at graves

June 25, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Jan Keil, along with her mother Dolores, visits Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary in Newhall often to see the burial site of her father.

Keil said what bugs her is to see the urns gone, stolen by grave-robbing thieves.

"I couldn't believe it. We didn't figure at first it was theft," Keil said.

Keil said it has happened for months. Every time she visits, she sees empty holes where the urns should be, grave after grave. It's come to the point where she has attached a small chain to the urn on her father's grave so it won't be taken. A new urn, she said, costs her hundreds of dollars.

"We want people to stop going through this," Keil said. "It's just a horrible sight. It's unbelievable."

A spokeswoman for Eternal Valley Memorial Park said it's difficult to stop the thefts. She said it's not isolated to Eternal Valley. It's happening all over the country. The brass urns are being stolen because of the value of the metal.

But Keil feels it must be stopped. She said she feels it's destroying the memory of people's loved ones.

"Really all they need to do is get some security," she said. "It's in the back of the hill, so they are obviously coming from behind the mountain. So why not just hire a security guard or something?"

The spokeswoman said they are aware of the thefts and are working with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Keil said she suspects that there are families who live out of state who many not known their family members' urns have been stolen.

Keil hopes that getting the message out will compel someone with information to call authorities. It might help catch the thieves and stop the crimes that are causing pain to grieving families.