- BC Games
Langley woman sought in cemetery theft case
Police are looking for a 42-year-old Langley woman after some stolen cemetery vases were sold to a metal recycler last month.
Investigators have confirmed a cache of bronze vases that piqued the suspicions of staff at a Surrey recycling facility were some of those stolen from gravesites at Victory Memorial Park in South Surrey.
Surrey RCMP Cpl. Bert Paquet said police returned 28 containers to cemetery operators last week, and are now looking to find and question the woman who dropped them off to ABC Recycling.
“This recovery of stolen items led us to the name of the subject of interest,” Paquet said.
“(She) is known to police for property-related crimes.”
Nearly 60 vases were taken from grave markers at 14831 28 Ave.
In some cases, the culprit or culprits took vases that were in use, dumping flowers placed by grieving family members.
ABC Recycling’s Allan Seto told Black Press a customer came to his Surrey yard with an unusual number of the vases — enough to prompt him to report the cache, and the customer’s information, to police.
“They brought in quite a few and that’s what triggered (the suspicion),” he said.
“One of our warehouse guys said this stuff doesn’t look right.”
Paquet commended Seto and his team for acting on their suspicions, and said officers are checking if other recycling facilities have received similar product.
“We’re working really hard to find the other half [of the vases] and close the loop for all the families that have suffered through this,” he said.
Cemetery general manager Bob Linklater credited media attention for helping “bring light to the situation.”
He lauded city and provincial laws that allowed the recycler to record information that could lead police to the culprit.
“As soon as this person left, and with the laws in place, (the company) was able to call police with solid information,” Linklater said.
Enacted by the province in mid-2012, the Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act requires scrap-metal buyers to keep a daily log of purchases and suppliers. The latter must provide ID, be registered and can only be paid by cheque for amounts over $50.
Jas Rehal, Surrey’s manager of bylaw enforcement, said that the act — along with changes the city made in 2008 to its own bylaws — has helped raise awareness of the issue and reduce problems.
“Now we’re at a place where the dealers really understand our requirements,” Rehal said.
Anyone with information about the remaining missing containers is asked to call police at 604-599-0502.