Cemetery thefts become personal for Montgomery Co. officials

July 10, 2013 4:08:53 PM PDT
There's been a break in the case of headstones swiped right from gravesites. Those markers have been returned, thanks to detectives who made it their personal mission to find the owners.

The County Line Cemetery means more to Montgomery County Commissioner Mike Meador than most.

"My grandparents, mom and dad," he said. "It means a lot to me."

He was shocked and broken-hearted to hear that a few days ago, Montgomery County auto theft detectives stumbled onto three gravestones in the middle of a stolen vehicle investigation. Fortunately, these detectives were determined to right a wrong.

"So it became a personal matter to us to make sure we got them back to the rightful owners, to the rightful cemetery, to set them ourselves," said Sgt. Kelley Smith with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

Sergeant Smith and his colleagues soon located the tombstones as belonging to the County Line Cemetery. They contacted the association and volunteered to return and fix the broken tombstones. Association members were grateful.

"All of us are in the age where there's no way we can even lift half the weight of one of those tombstones, much less the whole thing," said Carolina Dawson with the County line Cemetery Association.

Justin White, already on parole for a federal firearms violation, was charged with three counts of felony theft. Commissioner Meader says the entire county is grateful for the proactive detectives.

"It's amazing," he said. "The kind of employees we have."

White remains behind bars in Montgomery County. Detectives noticed there were some other gravestones disturbed, so they're trying to determine if there are others involved.

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