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Family Wants Replacement After Copper Thieves Hit Cemetery

A Central Arkansas woman explains how a copper theft at a Hensley cemetery is impacting their family.
HENSLEY, AR--Some Central Arkansas families are visiting grave sites to find thieves have made off with part of their tombstones. 

Rest in Peace cemetery requires people to buy the same copper headstones and some come with cups for families to leave flowers. The cups are also made of copper and due to the popularity of copper thefts grieving families are becoming targets. 

Evelyn Pointer-Ricks noticed something odd on visits her nephew's grave twice a month. 

"Hardworking, christian loving young man," she says, describing Justin Norris, 

Norris was 20 years old when he died from complications with diabetes in 2008.

"Losing him was quite a shock to the family but we know he's in a better place," she says. 

But the place where he's been laid to rest has become a target for copper thieves. The family discovered the copper cup that holds Justin's flowers missing in July.

"It's unimaginable. Words cannot express how I feel, it's the little things. It's his final resting place and for me it means a lot.

Now when they leave flowers like other visitors they place them in the hole where the cup should be. The thefts add insult to injury for this family still coping with their loss.

"He and my son grew up like brothers, it was kind of hard for them," she says. 

Eight months after its disappearance, the family is still hoping for a replacement. 

"We want for whoever is vandalizing the cemetery to stop, anyone who knows anything to come forward and we want the manager to replace it," she says.

The family is hoping someone will help restore the garden of prayer back to a place where families can grieve in peace. 

The family says they tried to get management to replace the cups over the past 8 months to no avail. The manager declined our request for an interview but said she would work with them. 

Back in 2006 thieves stole more than 50 cups valued at over $100. Occasionally they find more recent thefts at the cemetery. 
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