Tools

Suspected Thieves Caught, Accused of Stealing from Cemetery

By Ben Rainwater
By brainwater@wbbjtv.com

HENDERSON, Tenn. - Two men are behind bars in Chester County after they were accused of taking theft to an astonishing new low.

The alleged crooks reportedly stole from Chester County Memory Gardens Cemetery, in an attempt to make fast cash.

"Evidently, they have no respect for the deceased, or their families, or what this cemetery means to the community," said groundskeeper Steve Miler.

Justin Byrd and Christopher Mason were arrested after being accused of stealing brass vases from head stones at the cemetery. Their three felony charges include theft of property over $1,000, vandalism over $500, and desecration of a venerated object.

"I just think it's really sad," said Chester County resident Randy Crisch. "I mean people are hurting at times and times are hurting, but that's going really low. That's almost like pond scum to me."

The crooks were flagged for stealing eight vases and selling them to a local scrapyard. Police said when they ran the suspects down, they had several more in the back of their truck.

Miller told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News that he is happy justice was served so quickly. Because if they had not been found, the vases, and the memories that belong with them, could have been gone forever.

"[Law Enforcement] got this thing taken care of immediately," said Miller. "If not, these vases probably would have been melted or sent off for scrap."

Miller wants crime kept outside the gates of the cemetery.

"I hope it sends a message out to anyone that's thinking about doing anything in any cemeteries or stealing period," said Miller. "That there is a consequence to this and law enforcement took this very serious."