Metal thieves have stolen more than 525 bronze vases from graves in a Colma cemetery over the past month.
The sold-bronze vases, roughly 11 inches tall and weighing about 8 pounds apiece, are attached to bronze plaques on flat-stone graves. They're designed to be removed or attached by family members with little difficulty, Varner said, but that also makes them easy pickings for grave robbers.
All told, the vases were worth more than $85,000, Read said. Melted down - the vases' likely fate, if they were stolen for their metal - the bronze would garner about $4,000, he said.
Metal thieves desecrate hundreds of Colma graves
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So, the material costs of a vase are less than 5% of the cost. I think the real robber in this case is the funeral industry.
I wonder how much my laptop would be worth if it were melted down for scrap. Probably somewhere in the low three digits. And yet, I paid about two thousand for it, and I'm not complaining in the slightest.
Though you're right, the funeral industry does have insane markups. When I'm dead, I'm hoping my friends and family can gather up their balls and bury me under a tree, regulations be damned.
The scrap value of a laptop is a lot different from the scrap value of cast vase.
You make one of these vases by pouring melted metal into a mold, allowing it to cool, removing the mold, polishing the product, and possibly engraving the product. There is very little value added to the material cost. So, unless each vase was custom designed, there is very little value added to the material cost.
A laptop is made of thousands of individual components that all have to be manufactured and assembled. And that ignores the cost of the software.
This post suggests you've never had something cast and post-machined. They were probably cope and drag, which is somewhat labor intensive, and if they were easily mounted and removed then they were likely machined as well. $162 per is not a bad price for such a part.
Am I the only one who would call this gravestone desacration, and not the more sensationalistic grave robbing?
But don't give them ice-heads any ideas.