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“Grave desecration” at historic Richmond cemetery concerns volunteers

Posted at 6:17 PM, Jul 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-23 19:25:56-04

RICHMOND, Va -- A series of thefts at the cemetery where Chief Justice John Marshall and more than 400 War of 1812 veterans are buried has shocked volunteers of the 196-year-old gravesite.

Nearly a dozen items have gone missing at Shockoe Hill Cemetery since June, with stolen items including the cross from atop a monument, several Confederate Honor Crosses, several perpetual care plaques and a recently installed interpretive marker of brass set in a marble base.

"It's more than simple theft because there are mementos of these people's lives," said Jeffry Burden of the Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery, "This is pure and simple grave desecration."

Quickly it was determined two of three Eppes Family markers - a family whose lineage traces back to Thomas Jefferson - were missing,

Hidden cameras at the cemetery captured images of a man taking items of alleged value.

Late Monday afternoon, Richmond Police confirmed one arrest had been made, though no name or charge has been released.

In a surprise twist more than 60 miles away,  caretakers of the town cemetery in Blackstone Virginia have discovered several new items on the grounds under investigation for a possible connection to the Richmond crime. Blackstone Police have sent photographs to Richmond Detectives to see if the items belong in Shockoe Hill Cemetery.

Adding to the mystery is the recent reappearance of several items taken from Shockoe Hill Cemetery, discovered in a place they were sure to be seen, according to Burden.