Body parts were stolen from two corpses in separate mausoleums in a Melbourne cemetery in less than a week, with police asking witnesses to come forward.
The first grave robbery took place between 7.30pm Thursday and 6.15am Friday at Footscray General Cemetery on Geelong Road.
When police were called on Friday, officers found the plaque and plasterboard inside a mausoleum had been removed and partial human remains had been stolen.
No other burial sites were damaged in that night’s incident.
But then, between 6 p.m. Monday and 10 a.m. Tuesday, a second mausoleum was disturbed.
The thieves broke into the burial site, again stealing the remains.
Detectives have established crime scenes at both incidents and are investigating whether they are related.
One of the coffins was taken from the top row of the mausoleum it was in, the space since it was barricaded.
The police have also worked closely with site managers who are increasing the security presence at the site, including CCTV.
Investigators are urging anyone who has witnessed suspicious activity in the area over the past week to report to police.
“(These are) very similar circumstances, I’m not going to discuss the body parts that were removed just in terms of the distressing nature for the families, but body parts were removed in both cases,” the statement said. Detective Inspector Ben Jarman. 3AW radio.
He said both victims were elderly and police did not know the motives for the grave robbery, but warned the offenses were punishable by jail time.
Maribyrnong Town Mayor Anthony Tran said council was appalled by the vandalism.
“It is abhorrent to me that anyone thinks it is okay to interfere with the resting place of a member of our community,” he said in a statement.
“We are deeply sorry for the distress this has caused the affected families. The police are investigating and we are providing the necessary support and assistance.”
Australian Associated Press