BETHALTO, Ill. – Thieves hit an Illinois cemetery, stealing vases straight out of loved ones’ tombstones—and it isn’t the first time.

As the rain falls in the small town of Bethalto, Illinois, an extra wave of sadness washes over.

“It’s just a place where I can come and talk to my mom, my brother,” said Sugar Couch. “And kind of have a moment of peace and have that special moment with them.”

On Wednesday morning, staff at the Rose Lawn Memory Gardens Cemetery noticed some grave sites were violated. Seven bronze vases, built into headstones, were stolen. More are expected to be discovered as the police investigate.

Thankfully, Couch’s was not one of them, but it still shocked those who were already grieving.

“They came prepared, they knew what they were going to do, and they knew what they wanted,” she said.

Unfortunately, it’s déjà vu for mourners. Two years ago this month, 80 vases were stolen.

“It’s pretty sickening, doesn’t make any sense, it’s just disgusting,” said Joe Pruitt.

Back in 2021, Pruitt donated thousands to help replace them. His family members rest at Rose Lawn.

“Some people can’t afford to go replace these vases that have been stolen and scraped for pennies on the dollar, I’m sure,” Pruitt said.

“The cost to replace these 7-8 vases is going to be $1,800 to $2,000, and the scrap metal value in them is probably $30,” said Bethalto Police Chief Mike Dixon. “So someone has created hardship for several families to get $30.”

Last time, Bethalto police arrested the thieves after scrap yards turned them in. Dixon said he expects the criminals this time to suffer the same fate.

“We will catch them, we won’t stop until we do so,” he said. “They deserve special attention.”

No suspects have been caught so far, but Dixon urges anyone with information to contact the Bethalto Police Department.