Police: Thief targets Ashland cemetery to scrap metal vases

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ASHLAND, Ky. (WKYT) - At Rose Hill Burial Park, people come for closure and to find peace, but that wasn't what they found.

"Families were starting to come in and let us know their vases had been taken," stated Damon Melcho, the cemetery's manager.

As it turns out, dozens of vases were stolen each valued at roughly $300. But before the cemetery manager could call police, "We were notified by the police to see if we had, had any vases missing."

"We have adults that were taking this to a scrap yard in exchange for cash," explained Major Mark McDowell, of the Ashland Police Department.

"That's how we were able to connect the dots," added Melcho.

The break investigators needed came when a recycling center employee got suspicious about numerous of these vases being turned in.

"Things like copper or the precious metals like the bronze, they are going to have to fill out identification. The metal yard will take ID and identify who is bringing the product in and they'll copy that information down. So, it is relatively easy," said Major McDowell, who continued to say all police had to do was check the logs to find their suspect, Richard Evans.

With an arrest made, it now brings a different kind of closure to the cemetery.

"It is hurtful to the families. They come here for closure then to find out they have been violated like that," explained Melcho.

Police say keeping logs of people scrapping precious metals can be helpful, which is why they caution others against taking materials in for other people.

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