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PORTSMOUTH - A Portsmouth family is feeling the loss of a loved one even more strongly because someone stole the vase from the gravesite.

The Gartmans say they went to Evergreen Memorial Park at the corner of High Street and Frederick Blvd. on November 19 and found that the $150.00 stand-up brass flower vase was missing.

'All of the grave markers are flush with the ground,' Barry Gartman states. 'Vandals are making a habit of stealing the brass flower vases off many of the grave sites.'

Gary Gartman is upset that someone would disturb the final resting place of those who gave him everything. He recalls how his father sold their cottage in Sandbridge so he could buy his 1965 Va. Tech college ring.

The Gartmans are concerned other vases will be taken and sold for scrap.

They also say several other people visiting at the cemetery found the brass vases missing.

Carl Wimbrough, who owns the cemetery, says some families have reported their vases missing over the past three weeks and that he encourages families to make police reports.

Anyone with information can call Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.

Retha Rhodes was at the cemetery Thursday and had a hard time finding the grave markers of her husband's family. She was disgusted they were covered by grass and weeds - a real difference from when she was last there in April.

She wonders whether there are enough eyes on the property to keep thieves away.

Wimbaugh says he didn't realize that some markers weren't visible, especially since his crews are supposed to tend the property weekly.

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