Thieves target Catholic church

Reward offered after theft of memorial plaques

St Patrick’s Catholic church in Vincent is offering a reward to anyone who can help them recover 50 brass memorial plaques that went missing from the church’s garden of remembrance on October 27.
Chair of the parish council Terry Taylor, 59, said the council had taken a decision to do away with brass plaques and would replace them with valueless perspex material in an effort to dissuade thieves.
“We decided to remove all the remaining 100 brass plaques at the garden of remembrance because we believe the thieves will come back for them. I think they wanted to take all of them but were maybe distracted.”
In disbelief over the incident, Taylor said: “This is extremely sad; one never expects this to happen.”
Taylor said the 150 brass plaques were fixed to two memorial walls in the garden and featured the names of late members of the church, some of whose relatives currently attendthe church.
Taylor said he believed the plaques were stolen and sold to scrap metal dealers.
“We want other churches and parishioners out there to be on the lookout for this new type of crime so that they can devise ways to avoid being targeted.”
The church has also put out a message on social media announcing the reward.
In a message doing the rounds on Facebook, Taylor posted: “Should any scrap metal dealers (or anyone else) be offered brass memorial plaques please call St Pat’s. We had about 50 removed from our “Wall of Remembrance”. Reward offered.”
The Chamberlain Road church council did not open a case and Taylor promised that no one would be reported to the police.
Taylor said the theft was noticed on a Sunday morning by congregants who visited the gardens to pray for their late loved ones.
“People spend some time in the gardens of remembrance and pray before service, so the members came and told us that some names were gone. The names were there on Friday so the theft must have happened on Saturday.”
The church had initially engraved the names of their dead on memorial stones before developing the garden of remembrance in 2006.
There are 12 Catholic churches in the East London area including areas like Mdantsane, Duncan Village and Pefferville, 10 of which have memorial gardens, said Taylor...

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