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News 6 gets results after cemetery vases stolen

Local woman no longer forced to pay for replacement vases

A Central Florida woman claims that not only were vases stolen from her loved ones’ cemetery plots, but the cemetery in which they’re buried at was going to charge her to replace them.

"My mother has been here since 2006 and my dad (since) 2013 and it brings tears to my eyes,” said Sammay Battle-Love, referring to Washington Park Cemetery in Orlando.

Battle-Love said vases were stolen from her parents’, uncle’s and grandmother's graves.

"It is a violation. To me it is," Battle-Love said.

Battle-Love visits Washington Park Cemetery once a month to place flowers at all her family's gravesites.

"This is my lovely grandmother. She loved flowers immensely. That's one reason why we got the plot with the vase,” Battle-Love said.

But now she is forced to put the flowers on the ground.

"This is the only thing I can give them that gives me the joy of still having them with me.  I refused to be deprived of that," Battle-Love said.

It's not the first time that thieves have stolen bronze or copper vases from cemeteries in Central Florida.  A man was arrested at the end of March, accused of stealing about 300 vases from a Seminole County cemetery.

But Washington Park Cemetery was charging customers $20 to replace the stolen vases with cheaper vases.  That's when Battle-Love contacted News 6.

"I refuse to pay that,” Battle-Love said.  “I called them and they told me someone is stealing them so we can't be responsible. They should be responsible, not me. The only thing my obligation to my loved ones is to come and put the flowers here.  I called you all because you get results. My voice means nothing."

News 6 Investigator Eryka Washington went to the Washington Park Cemetery office. Employees declined an interview, but said they would waive the $20 replacement fee for customers who have had their vases stolen.

They handed over three replacement vases to Battle-Love, who wasted no time putting them back and fixing her flowers.

"This is the way it’s supposed to look. My parents died with dignity, and I intend to keep it that way.  I gave them to her when she was living and (I'm) going to continue in her death," Battle-Love said.

If your loved has a vase stolen from a gravesite, make sure you report it to authorities.

News 6 checked with other local cemeteries where vases have been stolen, and none of those to whom we spoke are charging customers a replacement fee.