Woman Arrested for Stealing Vases From Cemetery Near Casper
A woman who allegedly admitted to stealing over 100 brass flower vases from a cemetery outside Casper was arrested Tuesday on three felony charges.
Janna L. Szynskie, 51, was booked on charges of theft, receiving and concealing stolen property and property damage.
The Natrona County Sheriff's Office began investigating the case on the afternoon of April 14 after an employee with Memorial Garden Cemetery called to report several decorative brass flower vases belonging to headstones at the cemetery had been stolen.
The employee had noticed several missing vases before she got a call from employees of Pacific Steel and Recycling, who said they had received a number of brass vases. Some of the vases had been cut up, while others were intact. They had all been brought to Pacific Steel and Recycling by one woman.
At least 250 brass flower vases were estimated to be missing from headstones at the cemetery. The employee went to Pacific Steel and Recycling and was able to identify the vases as those that had been taken from the cemetery.
A deputy reviewed security video from Pacific Steel and Recycling and identified the woman who dropped the vases off as Szynskie. Receipts indicated Szynskie had dropped off 2,727 pounds of brass and received $2,895.80 in exchange.
According to an affidavit, Szynskie went to the Mills Police Department that afternoon and wanted to speak with an officer about the brass she had been recycling. She reportedly presented three hand-written notes which she claimed were bills of sale for the vases.
Szynskie agreed to speak with an investigator from the Natrona County Sheriff's Office. She allegedly told him she bought several brass vases from a man named "Mr. Grey" who lived in Glenrock. She didn't know where he lived, but said she would meet him at a gas station in Glenrock.
But as the interview progressed, Szynskie allegedly admitted to stealing several brass flower vases herself. She reportedly said she needed money for gas, food and dog food because of her dog's medical condition.
Szynskie admitted to taking over 50 brass vases herself, court documents say, and recycling all the brass at Pacific Steel and Recycling. She said she received roughly $1,000 for the brass she turned over.
In another interview on April 24, Szynskie allegedly admitted to taking over 100 brass flower vases from the cemetery, though she still maintained she received a number of vases from "Mr. Grey" in Glenrock.
She allegedly told the investigator she used a saw to cut up two of the vases herself, but claimed it was physically difficult because of problems with her hands.
However, sheriff's office officials say dozens -- if not at least 100 -- of the vases had been cut up.
Szynskie allegedly said she began taking the vases to Pacific Steel and Recycling in the third week of March and continued for three to four weeks, until law enforcement got in touch with her.
As of Tuesday, when Szynskie was arrested, the Natrona County Sheriff's Office had identified 98 victims who were missing vases. Each vase is valued at $400-$750. The affidavit says the "total conservative value" of the vases is $39,200.
But sheriff's office officials told reporters Wednesday morning there are over 100 total victims, and some are still filing reports with the sheriff's office.
Sheriff's Sgt. Aaron Shatto asks families with plots at the cemetery to check on them and report any missing or damaged items.