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Clayton man suspected in Johnston cemetery thefts

Posted June 18, 2008

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— Johnston County sheriff's investigators believe they have linked a string of thefts involving cemetery vases to a man already charged with similar crimes in Wake County.

Todd Michael Raymond, of Clayton, is in the Wake County jail under a $40,000 bond, accused of stealing hundreds of vases from a Raleigh cemetery.

Johnston County investigators said Wednesday they were able to identify Raymond as a suspect, but they cited the ongoing investigation in refusing to say how they linked him. Charges are pending.

In the past four months, someone has stolen more than 60 bronze vases from headstones from Pinecrest Memorial Park, 12830 US Highway 70 West in Clayton.

"You're talking about just a heartless criminal," Sheriff Steve Bizzell said.

Bizzell said the case is the latest example of items like copper being stolen and sold to scrap yards.

"And I think that the recycling center and the employees there are just as guilty as the man that stole it," he said.

Gregory Brown, who owns a recycling center in Raleigh and takes extra precautions to not buy stolen material, said cases such as the one in which Raymond is charged are giving the industry a "black eye."

At his center, Brown said, every seller must present identification, as required by state law. Brown also has customers sign a contract, and the transaction is captured on camera. Brown refuses obvious stolen items, such as storm drains.

"In fact, we've helped capture some people that have stolen stuff, because we immediately recognized the material, and while the person was here, we called the police," he said.

Authorities hope others will follow that path.

6 Comments

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  • Tired of your excuses Jun 19, 2008

    What a piece of stink for a human!

  • streetfightinman Jun 19, 2008

    Give me a crack at him my fathers grave had the vase stolen from it out at that cemetary.

  • mmafighterwife Jun 19, 2008

    Such a morbid thing to do!! Dude has nothing better to do than steal from a grave yard to sell the items for a little bit of cash. Sick sick get a real job that does not require stealing from other's personal property.

  • luvbailey Jun 18, 2008

    Sick.

  • TStills Jun 18, 2008

    "It puts the lotion into the basket...."

  • shep8851 Jun 18, 2008

    If these charges are true--this is one cold hearted dude. I mean, stealing the copper vases on peoples graves for the recycling value. Did the people who buy scrap metal not have a clue about this stuff he was bringing in?? Or did they even care. I'll admit ---a long time ago--that I "borrowed" some flowers from a grave (over a week old), and plastic flowers at that--because I forgot my girlfriends birthday. Always meant to put them back, but she liked them so much, I could not get them away from her.