Vases similar to the ones stolen from a Whitby cemetery last week are shown in this handout photo. (Durham Regional Police)
Two Greater Toronto Area police forces have launched investigations into the theft of hundreds of bronze vases from local cemeteries.
According to Peel Regional Police, a total of 269 of the vases were stolen from Mount Peace Cemetery, St. Marys Cemetery and Assumption Cemetery in Mississauga between April 7 and Sept. 24 of this year.
Durham Regional Police say that a suspect or suspects made off with about 200 bronze vases between Oct. 3 and Oct. 6.
"It's traumatic," she said. "Losing anybody is hard and then you go to visit at the cemetery and to see that now something's happened there, it would be very upsetting."
Peel regional police are continuing to investigate a rash of thefts at three Mississauga cemeteries between April 7 and Sept. 24.
Within that time frame, police say 269 bronze and metal vases have been reported stolen from Mount Peace Cemetery (3204 Cawthra Rd.), St. Mary’s Cemetery (2098 Dickson Rd.) and Assumption Cemetery (6933 Tomken Rd.). The value of these vases is approximately $67,250. Police believe these stolen urns are being sold to scrap metal companies.
The department says it has little information about the incident, which occurred sometime between Wednesday, Oct. 3 and Saturday, Oct. 6.
Between June and September, 150 vases were stolen from St. Marys while 87 were stolen from Assumption from Sept. 22 to 24 and 32 were taken from Mount Peace between April 7 and 13. All of these cemeteries are run by Assumption Catholic Cemetery, part of Catholic Cemeteries & Funeral Services — Archdiocese of Toronto.
Investigators with the 12 Division criminal investigation bureau are appealing for any witnesses or anyone with video footage of these incidents.
Anyone with information can contact investigators at 905-453-2121, ext. 1233. Information can also be left anonymously with Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.