Bronze vases stolen from cemetery; 1 suspect arrested

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Jose Lopez By Jennifer Thomas Jose Lopez By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

EL MIRAGE, Ariz. -- Metal thieves stole 180 bronze vases from an El Mirage cemetery last month and now one suspect is behind bars.

El Mirage police Officer Robert Peoples said the vases were removed from gravesites at the Sunwest Funeral Home.

Detectives said the thefts happened all in one day. They believe the thieves pulled a truck up to the cemetery and hauled off the 1,800 pounds of bronze.

A tipster helped police nab a suspect and the vases, valued at more than $110,000, were returned to the funeral home.

Jose Lopez was arrested and booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on charges of trafficking stolen property, facilitation and forgery.

Lopez works for a scrap yard in Phoenix. Police said he told the metal thieves where they could take the vases for cash. In return, Lopez would get a kickback from the deal.

Detectives said more suspects could be arrested.