(CNN) — Police in Australia are investigating links to a “satanic ritual” after human remains were stolen from a cemetery on two separate occasions, CNN affiliate 7 News reported.

Detectives said a number of items, including a crucifix, candles and letters to Satan, were left at the Footscray General Cemetery in the city of Melbourne, according to 7 News.

The first incident occurred overnight from Thursday to Friday, police in the state of Victoria said in a statement Wednesday. Human remains were removed from a mausoleum, which was found desecrated after a plaque and plaster board inside it were removed, police said.

A second incident at the same cemetery took place overnight from Monday to Tuesday.

“It’s believed unknown offenders forced entry to a mausoleum before stealing partial human remains,” the statement said. “Detectives established crime scenes at both incidents and are investigating whether they are linked.”

“The human remains were the primary focus of the offender and that is what we are focusing on,” Acting Inspector Ben Jarman told 7 News. “It’s very distressing for the families. They expect their loved ones to be put to rest at peace.”

No other grave sites were damaged during the incident, police said.

“This is a very rare event, we’re not sure what person is motivated to do this,” Jarman told local radio station 3AW.

He added that the offenders must have used some kind of tool to gain access to the mausoleums.

“It would have to be something substantial,” Jarman said.

Police have increased security at the cemetery and have been working closely with site managers, they added.

They urged the public to come forward if they witnessed suspicious activity over the past week.

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