Two heads have been stolen from separate graves in a Melbourne cemetery, with police saying the grisly crime has distressed the families of those whose bodies were disturbed.
It is not believed anything else was taken from the coffins, which were located in mausoleums in Footscray cemetery.
Victoria Police acting inspector Ben Jarman said the first theft occurred overnight between 27 January and 28 January, and the second between Monday night and Tuesday morning.
The thefts occurred at mausoleums towards the rear of the cemetery, and were reported to police after passersby noticed graves had been damaged.
“It is very distressing for the families, obviously they weren’t expecting this news to come from Victoria Police,” Jarman said.
“They expect their loved ones to be put to rest, at peace.”
There were no known links between the two people whose graves were targeted, Jarman said.
A third gravesite was also disturbed, but it was a pre-purchased plot that did not contain human remains.
Jarman said police were unclear about the motive for the crime, which constituted theft and removal of body part offences, but he was not ruling out that it was linked to satanism.
“Because it’s such an uncommon crime to be committed, until we catch up with the offender and find out a motive, it’s very difficult to say what the motive is,” he said.
Jarman was not aware of similar cases occurring in Victoria, but said that would form part of the investigation.
It is unclear how many people are involved in the offences, which occurred when the cemetery could only be accessed by foot, but it is expected tools were used to access the remains.
There had been items left at the scene by the offenders, Jarman said.
“It is difficult to say whether they are acting alone, there is a … lot of work to get into these mausoleums, there was a substantial amount of damage, but too early to say at this stage.”
Jarman said police would increase patrols in the area, and the local council was working with the cemeteries trust to improve security, including by installing CCTV.
Source: The Guardian