Susan Wood’s voice cracks with emotion when she describes her mother, Sadie.
“My mother was such a wonderful woman,” she said. “I was really close to her.”
Wood gets even more choked up when she talks about what happened to her mother’s grave last week.
“I don’t know why people do what they do,” she said.
Sadie Wood was a World War II nurse who recently passed away. Her grave was one of 50 to 60 graves at Sarasota Memorial Park, 5833 S. Tamiami Trail, that had bronze vases stolen from atop their headstones.
Among the other graves that were victimized were those of an infant, a 4-year-old boy and former NFL coach Bud Carson, the husband of ABC 7 anchor Linda Carson.
“I’m so disgusted,” said cemetery employee Kathy Wyckoff. “The families are in here crying. They’re hurt.”
Wyckoff suspects the vases were stolen for scrap metal. She’s called all area scrap-metal businesses, and none has received any of the vases yet.
A state law took effect last year that requires scrap-metal businesses to collect identification from anyone selling scrap metal.
Wood said she visited her mother’s grave every Sunday to place fresh flowers in the vase, because her mother loved flowers.
“There’s nothing to place them in now,” said Wood. “It’s bad enough that you’re grieving, then this happens.”
Wood’s brother, who died in an accident six years ago, is also buried at Sarasota Memorial Park, and the vase from his grave was also stolen.
“(The thieves) really have no conscience,” said Wyckoff. “I don’t think they know the pain and suffering they cause people.”
According to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, no other area cemeteries have reported any thefts.
Sarasota Memorial Park employee Kathy Wyckoff said because the cemetery is family-run, not corporate-operated, it does not have the money to replace the 50 to 60 stolen vases, which cost about $300 each.
She did say that victims may be able to file a claim on their homeowner’s insurance to pay for the theft.
Wyckoff has filed a sheriff’s office report and will provide a case number for any family interested in filing an insurance claim.
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