Mira Miloica — who has been a regular visitor to her son's grave at Valley View Cemetery in Surrey since he died 25 years ago — says it sickens her that someone would steal from the dead.
Thieves made off with about 175 ornamental vases from the cemetery sometime in late April, including the one Miloica would leave flowers in to honour her son's memory.
"He was young, only 23 when he passed away, and every time I come here I fall apart," she said.
"When something like that happens, it makes it 100 times worse."
Miloica noticed her son's vase was gone when she came to visit on April 24.
When she saw that several other vases appeared to be missing, she called the funeral home to report the incident.
"This does happen from time to time in cemeteries but it's really unfortunate when someone comes into a cemetery with malicious intentions," said Valley View Cemetery manager Justin Schultz.
"The family members are our priority and we're asking people who think they might be victimized by this crime to reach out to us, so we can work with them on vase replacement."
Miloica says whoever is responsible for the theft can still make things right by returning her son's vase.
"I want to say to them that they don't have a conscience and they should return them," she said.
"Do something about it and be the human beings that you're supposed to be."
'Someone thought this was an easy target'
Police say it's hard to put a dollar figure on what the vases are worth because they're likely going to be sold as scrap metal.
"Clearly someone thought this was an easy target and made off with quite a few vases," said Surrey RCMP Cpl. Scotty Schumann.
Schumann says he finds it sickening that someone would steal from a cemetery, but he adds that it's not an uncommon place for a criminal to target.
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Schultz says he is conducting a review to determine if anything can be done to make Valley View more secure.
"One thing we're doing is we have reached out to our suppliers and we're asking them to partner with us to create some options that might be less appealing to thieves," he said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 or Crime Stoppers, if they wish to remain anonymous, at 1-800-222-TIPS.