Vandals steal, damage ‘priceless’ memorial plaques at Mandurah cemetery

December 24, 2015

Nathan Hondros

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Helen DeCampi said she raced to the cemetery to check the grave of her son Sash Brady, who died of cancer in 2012.

Helen DeCampi said she raced to the cemetery to check the grave of her son Sash Brady, who died of cancer in 2012. Photo: Richard Polden

Angry and upset families were rushing to Lakes Memorial Cemetery in Mandurah on Christmas Eve to see if the graves of their relatives had been vandalised.

More than 40 memorial plaques, including one belonging to a 13 year old child and others belonging to war veterans, had been stolen or destroyed on Wednesday night, leaving families not only furious at the desecration of the graves but as much as $1400 out of pocket.

Helen DeCampi said she raced to the cemetery as soon as she heard to check the grave of her son Sash Brady, who died of cancer in 2012.

Graves at Lakes Memorial Cemetary were vandalised on Wednesday night, with plaques destroyed or stolen.

Graves at Lakes Memorial Cemetary were vandalised on Wednesday night, with plaques destroyed or stolen. Photo: Richard Polden.

She said even though her son’s grave had been undamaged, she was angry and distraught for the families who had been affected.

“The people who did this should be in the cemetery instead of my son,” she said.

“It’s terrible, just so disrespectful, especially this time of year, it’s just so wrong.

More than 40 brass plaques have been stolen from a Mandurah cemetery.

More than 40 brass plaques have been stolen from a Mandurah cemetery. Photo: Richard Polden.

“It’s heartbreaking, you know, I come down here every second week without fail.

“If I’d come down here now and found Sash’s plaque gone, that would’ve been it, I don’t know what I would’ve done.”

She said her heart went out to those families who would have to deal with the vandalism.

“I’m furious for those people, it’s so sad; what are they feeling?” she said.

“My heart went in my mouth when I heard it.

“I thought: ‘god, I gotta go down, I gotta go down,’ and I was straight here to see what’s happened to Sash.

“People have no respect these days, it’s seriously getting very bad.”

Mayor Marina Vergone said the City of Mandurah is disgusted by the vandalism and blatant disrespect and called for community assistance to catch the thieves.

“The disgraceful work of these vandals has a significant impact on family and friends of those that have been laid to rest there, especially at this time of the year, and it’s simply not acceptable,” she said.

“This is putting a sad stain on our community, and we need your help.”

City of Mandurah workers and community members were in disbelief this morning when they discovered what had happened at the Lakes Memorial Cemetery.

The vandalism occurred in the Tuart and Casurina wings of the cemetery on Wednesday night.

A post on the WA Police Facebook page said the plaques were all individually named, with some denoting military veterans, others family members and one particular plaque belonging to a 13 year old child with various family pictures attached.

“Sadly sometime between 5pm on Wednesday and 8am on Thursday thieves have entered the Parklands Cemetery Lakelands,” the post read.

“Once inside, they have removed approx. 40+ brass plaques from cremated person’s grave stones. All plaques are all approx. 30x50cms in size, they weigh 10-15kgs each.

“The total of the stealing is in the region of $100,000 with the impact on the effected families is immeasurable.”

Mayor Vergone urged anyone with information relating to the theft to come forward ot police.

“Report any suspicious activities, no matter how insignificant, to Police on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000,” she said.

This year the City of Mandurah has been hit by significant damage and theft from local playgrounds, reserves, the Mandurah War Memorial and now the Lakes Memorial Cemetery.

More than $30,000 worth of equipment has been stolen or damaged following the spike in vandalism and thefts from reserves and playgrounds around Mandurah. Items stolen during these planned attacks include swings, park benches, picnic seats, memorial and artistic plaques, a flying fox and a slide.

This year the City has ramped up its work with local Police to tackle this issue but needs the community’s help in reporting incidents.

Story via the Mandurah Mail.

Source : WA Today

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