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Why Dinwiddie investigators need your help returning stolen gates

Why Dinwiddie investigators need your help returning stolen gates
Posted at 5:40 PM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 17:40:57-04

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. -- After recovering more than a dozen stolen gates, investigators in Dinwiddie County need assistance from the public to return them to where they belong.

Dinwiddie County Sheriff's Office Investigator Lt. David Gunn has been fielding a lot of calls about missing cemetery gates.

"After being involved in this investigation for over a week, this investigation carried me to other jurisdictions with the same issues that we're having in Dinwiddie. Cemetery gates being stolen," Gunn said.

What started out as just one missing gate from Butterwood United Methodist Church in Dinwiddie County has come to be a much bigger problem than first expected.

"I have recovered roughly 30 pieces of antiques with an excess of 12 gates, cemetery fences, cemetery corner posts," Gunn said.

The investigation quickly determined that two gates were missing from Dinwiddie cemeteries. Arrests in the thefts were made just a few days later.

48-year-old Michael Turner and 43-year-old Matthew Anthony Rushmore Mills, both of Colonial Heights, were charged with one count each of felony receiving and concealing stolen property.

More than a week into the investigation, more pieces have been recovered than were reported stolen in the first place.

"The pieces I have recovered have all been sold by the two individuals that we have previously arrested," Gunn said.

The pieces were sold to stores from Prince George County to Hanover County and are believed to be stolen from not just Dinwiddie County.

"I have actually recovered property that belongs to Sussex County, I returned a gate to them. I have a gate that belongs to Chesterfield County from a cemetery in Ettrick. But these remaining pieces, we need to find out where they came from," Gunn said.

Two of these recovered pieces may have come from a historic cemetery in Petersburg.

"I have located two gates that I believe came from Blandford Cemetery in the City of Petersburg," Gunn said.

However, to return the other items that were recovered, the sheriff's office needs assistance from the public.

"We're asking for the community to really reach out to their family members that know where cemetery plots are and go look there," Gunn said.

Investigators said that more charges are pending against the two men.

Anyone who has purchased items from either man or believes that one of the recovered items belongs to you to is asked to reach out to the Dinwiddie Crime Solvers at (804) 861-1212.

For more coverage on the gate thefts, click the links below: