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Over 100 bronze vases stolen from Lake Area cemeteries

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 10:00 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - It’s an already hard situation families are forced to face when their loved ones pass away, but dealing with desecrated graves is another story. Over 175 bronze vases have been stolen from Lake Area cemeteries.

“There’s no words, no words that could comprehend when you come out to the graveyard and you just see your families graves just desecrated like this. It shouldn’t be like that,” said Lake Area resident Kevin Leger.

It’s the last thing you want to worry about when laying a loved one to rest.

“I never expected to drive up here and to see flowers everywhere and all the vases missing,” said Lake Area resident Sue Way.

Over 100 vases were stolen from Consolata Cemetery, and next door, nearly 70 vases were taken from Prien Memorial Park.

Leger has seven of his loved ones rest buried in Prien Memorial Park.

“My grandmother has got her vase missing, my sister, Micheal Lejeune, my mommy and daddy, and his brother and his wife all missing their vases,” Leger said.

Way went to visit her husband’s grave on his birthday, only to find his bronze vase stolen.

“I was heartbroken, heartbroken for my husband but for all these other graves that had been desecrated, and I can’t imagine what kind of person would do this,” Way said.

She left wondering who would commit such a crime.

“Will they stoop to nothing? You know, what’s going on with people who will do this to a grave site,” Way said.

Prien Memorial Park recognizes the pain this has caused. Managing Director Bubba Brasseaux said they are working diligently to get in touch with the victim’s families.

“When someone steals something off their grave, it brings all those emotions back. It’s kind of like reliving their death again because the pain is still there and now there’s just more pain because of what’s happened,” Brasseaux said.

At least one arrest has been made in connection with the investigation: 35-year old Kenneth Stillson of Ragley.

All 112 vases stolen from Consolata Cemetery have been recovered, and 34 of the stolen vases from Prien Memorial Park Cemetery have also been recovered.

“If anyone has a loved one interred in Prien Memorial Park, and they are concerned that their final resting place may be affected, they can feel free to contact our office, and we will be happy to assist them,” said Joel Brinkley, general manager of Prien Memorial Park, in a statement.

This is an ongoing investigation, and we’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.

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