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Published: Friday, 11/16/2007

Bronze thieves stealing from the dead

Historic Woodlawn Cemetery is stepping up patrols since the discovery that bronze items such as vases and doorknobs to mausoleums are missing and presumed stolen.

Items believed taken include four bronze door knobs, 12 bronze plates used over vents in mausoleums, bronze bars from windows of family mausoleums, and 30 bronze vases.

"I believe it's disgraceful and shows no respect for the dead," said Cheryl Hooten, office manager of the cemetery, 1502 West Central Ave.

A cemetery guard first noticed in late October some bronze items were missing

"Judging by things happening at other cemeteries and basically all around the country with bronze, we thought we'd better take an inventory," Mrs. Hooten said.

The cemetery has increased its own patrols, contracted private security firms, and has been working with Toledo police, Mrs. Hooten said.

The value of the missing items hasn't been calculated. The bronze vases alone cost $100 each.

"It's bad enough that it happens in homes people are building, stripping the fixtures before people move in. Then they come into a graveyard and steal from the dead. It's awful," Mrs. Hooten said.

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