Residents had been complaining for some time that someone was apparently sneaking into local cemeteries and stealing the vases normally placed on grave markers from around suburban Elmhurst. Police have now caught Jeffrey T. Burke and charged him with felony theft of stolen property and driving with a suspended license.
According to local media reports, the man was stealing the vases, which are made out of brass, in order to sell them for scrap. In fact, when police arrested Burke, they found more than 400 vases. The estimated worth of all of that brass is around $100,000. Burke was taking the vases to local scrap yards in exchange for cash.
This is not the first time Burke has been caught doing something like this. Back in 2007 he was arrested for a similar crime. In that case he had been stealing the scrap metal from the DuPage County area.
At that time, Burke was convicted and ultimately sentenced to five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Currently Burke is being held in the DuPage County Jail on a $60,000 bond.
Stealing metal from strange places in order to sell them for scrap has become a growing crime in many communities. Earlier this year it was reported that thieves were making the rounds in various Chicago neighborhoods to break apart central air conditioning units in order to find the small amounts of metal inside the units.