Thieves targeted the Wollongong City Memorial Gardens (Unanderra) crematorium grounds, making off with almost 500 bronze vases from three separate memorial walls.

Police were alerted to the theft from the Wollongong City Memorial Gardens and Crematorium yesterday morning by Wollongong City Council staff.

Police found 477 small bronze vases - attached to memorial plaques to hold flowers - had been torn off walls and stolen, leading to the damage of 56 memorial plaques.

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