Father's Day has changed for Andrea Randolph since her father passed away on Christmas Day in 2009.
Every year she goes to visit his grave at Resthaven cemetery and pay her respects, but this year an already sad day became even more disheartening.
"I pulled up and noticed that his vase was missing. I turned around and went straight up to the office and explained to them that it was missing. There wasn't anything they could do at that time, being a Sunday. I came back a rigged a little plastic container so I could at least leave the flowers, but then I noticed as I walked around, just in the walking distance here that at least 15 or 16 other graves had their vases missing," Randolph said.
The vases are made of bronze and sit in a circular holder near the headstone.
"It wrecked me, it was tough, it was really tough," Randolph said. "You don't take something from a grave. You don't take something from anybody, but you don't take it from a grave."
"Unfortunately the theft of bronze from cemeteries is an issue across North America," says Resthaven spokesperson Jessica McDunn. "I can't really say how often it is, but I can tell you that it happens far too often."
She says people will come at night and remove vases from the headstones and usually sell them to metal shops in Lubbock or surrounding areas for money. The problem is there is no effective way to provide security.
"It's a little difficult because we take the safety and security of our parks very seriously; however, cemeteries by their nature are open to the public so it's really unrealistic to restrict all access to the property or to monitor the entire property with cameras or something like that," she said.
"Sometimes it's very difficult to determine if someone is placing flowers on a grave site or if they're acting suspiciously. We don't necessarily want to approach just any person who is in the cemetery because most people are there to visit their loved ones."
Randolph was able to work with Resthaven and get her father's vase replaced. The cemetery has filed a police report about the incident and asks anyone who has had a family member's vase stolen to notify them. Randolph just wants whoever is taking the vases to stop.
"Stop, these are loved ones, these are veterans," she said. "One of the ones I saw, he's a Purple Heart recipient. This is the final resting place of our loved ones it's disgusting. It's disgusting that people are out here doing this."
Copyright 2014 KCBD. All rights reserved.