WALDORF, Md. - It is a shocking theft in Charles County. On Tuesday night, almost 100 bronze vases were stolen from the gravesites at Trinity Memorial Gardens cemetery in Waldorf.
A mother who lost her teenage daughter to cancer less than two years ago told us one of those precious vases was stolen at her daughter’s gravesite.
“When we leave them here, we leave them thinking they are going to be okay, which I know Kayla is okay because she's in heaven, but I'm not okay with things like this happening to my child,” said Kathleen Browne.
Browne’s daughter, Kayla, died from cancer when she was 14. She was an optimistic child despite battling four types of cancer from the age of seven.
“If you were in a bad mood or something or if you were just feeling down, just being around her would completely change your day,” said Browne. “She was amazing. I was blessed to have her first long as I did.”
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office believes the bronze vases were stolen for scrap money. Police say thieves often travel out of state to sell the bronze.
Browne is devastated for her daughter.
“She was robbed of so much things in life,” Browne said. “She never gets to graduate. She never gets married. And then she's here trying to rest and she gets robbed again.”
While we were there with Browne at the cemetery on Thursday, the cemetery’s ground superintendent pulled up to her with some vases in his truck.
“We had about 20 at the main mausoleum here,” said Derrick Derrickson, the ground’s superintendent. “Directly in the entrance path, there's a hedge right there, so it looks like somebody just pulled up and tossed them out real quick.”
Browne immediately looked for her daughter’s vase, but it wasn't there.
But she did find one vase she recognized. It was for Kayla's uncle who died at 16 years old. He is buried next to her. She put his vase back.
“This isn't okay to disturb graves,” said Browne. “I promised her yesterday that I would do what I can, as much as I can in my power to get the word out there to get her vase back. I'm going to keep on until it comes back.”
Monday will be the two-year anniversary of Kayla's death. Her mother said replacing the vase costs between $300 and $500. More importantly, she said there is a priceless bracelet that Kayla wore until she died that was on the vase.
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office said that there were no witnesses and no surveillance camera of the thefts. But if anyone has any knowledge about the crime, they are asked to contact Sgt. J. Murphy at (301) 932-2222.
Anonymous tips may be left at Charles County Crime Solvers by calling 1-866-411-TIPS, texting CHARLES + the tip to CRIMES (274637) or submitting tips online at tipsubmit.com. A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered.