Sentimental plaques, vases stolen from London’s St. Peter’s Cemetery

The London Catholic Diocese called the theft of valuable and sentimental bronze vases from one of its cemeteries a violation of sacred space.

On Friday morning, staff at St. Peter’s Cemetery in London, Ont. discovered a total of 42 bronze vases and a number of plaques had been forcibly removed and stolen from niches in columbarium’s overnight.

Diocese spokesperson Matthew Clarke told CTV News London they have been busy breaking the news to affected families.

“It’s very heartbreaking for something like this to happen there,” said Clarke. “Those memorial vases were deeply meaningful for the families who have someone laid to rest there. So to have them broken and stolen like that is something I don’t think we anticipated happening.”

The niches hold urns with the ashes of the dearly departed, and each is very personal, added Clarke.

“The families take a great deal of care to choose what’s going to go on the cover of the niche, and then the vase itself is a spot where they can come and leave flowers and remembrance, so it’s a very personal violation of what is in effect a sacred space,” he explained.

Each bronze vase is worth several hundred dollars. Clarke said police have been contacted about the theft, and local scrap yards have been asked to keep an eye out for them.

“Hopefully if they turn them in somewhere the person is able to contact us,” said Clarke.

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