Cops: 2 robbers planned to sell 89 cemetery vases for scrap

Tribune reporter

Two men were arrested this morning with 89 cemetery vases and a funeral plaque worth thousands of dollars  they apparently were going to sell to a recycler, police said this morning.

The men were taken into custody at about 8 a.m. in the 10100 block of South Ewing Avenue after police received a call about a burglary in progress in a three-floor apartment, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli. Charges are pending, he said.

When officers arrived, they spotted the men loading items into blue plastic bags and placing them into an SUV behind the three-flat, Mirabelli said.

Searching the bags, police found 89 vases, or planters, and a metal plaque that already been inscribed, Mirabelli said. The planters were copper or brass, he said.

The plaque -- which also was copper or brass -- had been defaced to obscure a person's name, age and other information, Mirabelli said.

Police estimated the vases sell for between $100 and $500 apiece, putting the value of the heist between $8,900 and $44,500, Mirabelli said.

Police are trying to determine where the vases and the plaque were stolen.

Officials say thieves have been stealing copper and other metals because prices have spiked.

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