Metal thieves loot cemetery

EVERETT — Someone has been stealing from Everett’s dead.

During the past two months, about 30 bronze vases have disappeared from grave sites at the Evergreen Funeral Home and Cemetery.

“It’s sad,” funeral home general manager Dennis Christie said. “These are peoples’ mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, grandmas and grandpas.”

The cemetery is the final resting place for more than 50,000 people and has been hallowed ground since Everett’s beginnings. Now, officials are considering adding surveillance cameras and tightening access at night.

The vases have been removed from different sections of the sprawling 80-acre cemetery. The thefts have been reported to Everett police.

Stealing bronze vases and markers for sale as scrap is more common than people might think, Christie said.

“It’s a national problem,” he said.

Christie recently moved to Everett from Kansas. He remembers about 10 years ago, the cemetery where he was working had about 100 bronze vases stolen.

“As scrap metal prices have increased, we have seen a spike in these kinds of incidents,” said Jessica Koth, spokeswoman for the Wisconsin-based National Funeral Directors Association. “These are very sacred places where you wouldn’t expect it.”

Scrap metal is an $85 billion industry each year in the United States, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries in Washington, D.C.

Thieves follow the market.

Recyclers increasingly are working closer with law enforcement agencies to catch scrap metal thieves, the trade organization reported. They routinely report people who try to sell suspicious items, such as manhole covers, aluminum bleachers, park benches and spools of new copper wire.

Bronze vases also should raise red flags among scrap metal recyclers, Christie said.

That risk doesn’t stop some thieves.

Three years ago, Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies investigating a string of burglaries raided an Arlington man’s property and found four old bronze urn markers discarded in a doghouse. All were traced to an Everett mausoleum, and police believed they were stolen for sale as scrap metal.

Evergreen Funeral Home is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whomever is responsible for the thefts.

New vases will be engraved with the name of the cemetery and the grave’s location on the grounds.

Christie hopes someone will come forward with information.

“This is something we really want to get some help with,” he said.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446,

Talk to us

More in Local News

Reader: Are developers responsible for repairing roads?

Development sites have requirements. Paving season is underway in unincorporated Snohomish County.

Inslee extends pause on counties advancing phases to July 28

Locally, leaders worry a spike in cases could cause hospitalizations and deaths to rise soon.

Eviction moratorium uncertainty means preparing for anything

Landlords and housing advocates work to keep a roof over the heads of Snohomish County’s renters.

Police find, rescue Shoreline man trapped in Edmonds ravine

Someone heard cries for help near a forested hillside near Marina Beach. He was there two days.

One dead, three hospitalized after Highway 522 crash

An East Wenatchee woman died after a head-on collision Saturday night in Monroe.

Want to save $357 a year? 50% more PUD customers now qualify

The new program expands eligibility for discounts based on income and household size.

Police: Lake Stevens political sign thief assaults witness

The suspect, 66, removed signs of two Black candidates, then attacked a man who confronted him, police said.

Slain officer joined Bothell police in 2019; suspect jailed

Henry Washington shot two officers while fleeing a traffic stop, police said. Officer Jonathan Shoop died.

Most Read