A Lincoln Memorial Cemetary worker walks around the grounds pointing at various graves, graves irreverently stripped of copper vases. "They'd take them, brake them off, throw the flowers back in the hole, move on to the next one," says Detective Roger Courtney. He says Thomas Anderson and Olivia Rios stole 164 vases, and brought some of them to River City Iron and Metal scrap yard for money. "We knew who we were looking for after we spent almost a week going through records at this scrap yards business, they weren't keeping records properly," says Courtney. River City had no comment about the matter. Lincoln Memorial Cemetary sympathizes with the families. "I guess we'll replace them as we can, hopefully more will come back," says one worker. Twenty-two vases have been recovered by the Shreveport Police Department, the couple charged with stealing them face some pretty serious charges, including desecration of a grave. In the future the scrap yards could also face some trouble, they'll be held, in part, responsible for keeping this from happening again. "They're going to be shut down if they don't do this," says Courtney. The Caddo Sheriff's Office tells the scrap yards what "this" is: "We can require them to take pictures to properly I.D. the suspects, to get a license number off the vehicles, to get us a better description of the product being sold," says Sheriff Steve Prator. Courtney says their clock began ticking on the 11th of last Monday with new regulations that went into effect for every scrap yard in the state. The new regulations address a growing problem - pillaging for copper, from wire, to what many might consider a new low, like stealing from gravesite.
Story by Fred Childers