RAYTOWN, Mo. (AP) — Investigators in western Missouri are calling on scrap metal dealers hoping to find thieves who have stolen hundreds of bronze vases from a cemetery.

The staff at the 65-acre Mount Olivet Cemetery says an initial count put the number of missing vases at 170. But workers have checked further in recent days say the number could be as high as 300.

KMBC-TV reports (http://bit.ly/VJoJKz ) the thieves are going after copper, which makes up about 90 percent of the bronze vases. The vases cost families about $600 to $700, but have a scrap value of less than $20.

Scrap metal dealers are required by law to get a statement on cemetery letterhead to accept a gravesite vase for salvage.

Manufacturers have begun to provide cemeteries with vases made from aluminum and zinc.

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Information from: KCTV-TV, http://www.kctv5.com