Bronze doors stolen from Upper Darby cemetery

UPPER DARBY, Pa. - December 19, 2013

The doors weigh at least several hundred pounds and are worth over $30,000.

It is the ultimate show of disrespect for the dead at Arlington Cemetery in Upper Darby; one of a kind bronze mausoleum doors valued at $18,000 per set, stolen right off their hinges.

The thieves struck first over the weekend at the mausoleum dating back to the late 60's, and then again overnight on Tuesday into Wednesday taking doors from another building which dates back to 1926.

"We're assuming its scrap metal. These are very unique pieces. They are very easy to recognize. I can't imagine what type of scrap dealer would actually take these doors," says Cemetery Manager Gary Buss.

Police suspect drug addicts stole the doors which weigh hundreds of pounds and smuggled them off the 135-acre property by dragging them to edge of the cemetery before lifting the doors over the fence which borders a residential neighborhood.

The 18 other mausoleums with handmade bronze doors have now been chained to try to prevent more thefts.

Arlington Cemetery has been unable to contact the families that own the mausoleums.

In one case, they say they have not heard from that family since 1981 - 32 years ago.

"It is terrible," said Joe Migatz. "I don't know why anyone would do anything like that, desecrate a grave no matter what their need may be."

Just 5 miles down the road in Yeadon an outbreak of the same crime at the Holy Cross Cemetery; three sets of expensive bronze doors stolen the same way from old family mausoleums.

"We've been here for over 100 years, and we've never had anything happen like this. It is very devastating," said Buss.

At Arlington, police collected fingerprints and footprints.

They are alerting local scrap metal yards telling them to call if they are offered distinctive bronze doors. And they are issuing warnings to anyone thinking about buying them.

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