Photo of the stolen hummingbird statue (Source: Casey Clements)
Nicholas H. Boston (Source: LMPD)
Sgt. Jamey Schwab
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The value of scrap metal means a lot of dishonest people are trading in stuff that's not theirs for cash. Now, Louisville Metro Police are seeing an unfortunate new trend. Those thieves are targeting cemeteries to find the scrap.
Police say the very nature of cemeteries is making it easy for thieves to steal scrap metal: a place where you go to be alone with your thoughts, where people - for the most part - leave you alone and don't ask questions.
Cave Hill Cemetery in the Highlands is where Casey Clements goes to remember the man he says was his best friend, his father Ed.
"I actually came out here on Veterans Day," Clements said. "He was a World War II vet, 82nd Airborne and I just didn't want that day to pass without being here."
It was during that trip that Clements noticed that a part of the headstone that was uniquely his dad was missing.
"It was hummingbirds, which my dad loved," Clements said. "You can see right here where they - instead of breaking it off - it clearly had to have been sawed off."
"There are certain things that are sacred and you would think going and vandalizing a grave would be one of them," said LMPD Sergeant Jamey Schwab.
Schwab said over the past month or so, two Louisville cemeteries have been a target. Someone stole the metal decorations and memorials from at least 15 graves at Cave Hill and six at Calvary off Eastern Parkway.
"Obviously for the scrap metal thieves," Schwab said, "they pretty much know no boundaries."
Schwab said the public can help by making sure you're more watchful in cemeteries and taking pictures of anything of value you might use on a loved one's grave.
"Even if it's just a picture taken on a cell phone the property that we've been able to identify so far has come from basically before and after photographs," Schwab said.
It was pictures and other parts of the police investigation that lead detectives in this case to Nicholas H. Boston, 34. Police said Boston had items from Calvary and they want to talk to him about the thefts in Cave Hill.
Clements said they'll replace the missing birds on his dad's grave and in the meantime, he's remembering a lesson his father taught him long ago.
"He had always said you should never get attached to material things, but we put this here for those of us who are left to remember him," said Clements. "So I think he would understand our concern."
Schwab had one more tip for people who spend money on the final resting place of their loved ones: it's usually costly, so you should check with your homeowners' insurance policy to see if you're covered for any loss or theft.
Wednesday, July 30 2014 9:12 PM EDT2014-07-31 01:12:13 GMT
The tattoo has not previously been seen widely by the public because cameras are not allowed inside Indiana courtrooms. The Indiana Office of the Courts released the photo on July 30 as part of evidence logged in by police and presented to the court by the Floyd County Prosecutor's Office.More >>
The tattoo has not previously been seen widely by the public because cameras are not allowed inside Indiana courtrooms. The Indiana Office of the Courts released the photo on July 30 as part of evidence logged in by police and presented to the court by the Floyd County Prosecutor's Office.