Local News

Goldboro police bust alleged cemetery thief

Posted September 30, 2008 4:58 p.m. EDT

— Goldsboro police on Tuesday arrested a man they believe was stealing vases from Wayne Memorial Park Cemetery on N.C. Highway 117 in Dudley.

Michael Scott Butts, of 815 E. Walnut St. in Goldsboro, said he got the idea from news reports about a similar cemetery theft.

Cemetery owners reported about 30 bronze flower vases, worth about $300 each, stolen over the past week.

Detectives recovered six of the vases at a local scrap yard. Butts told detectives he had hidden seven other vases in a wooded area.

Wayne County Sheriff Carey A. Winders urged scrap yards to help in policing cases like this.

"Salvage yards purchasing these types of items have to know that they are very unique items and are more than likely stolen," he said.

"The salvage yard owners need to educate their employees and instruct them to cooperate and contact local law enforcement when undamaged items this unique are brought to them to be sold as junk."

He praised scrap yards that cooperate with law enforcement and asked for wider participation in identifying possibly stolen metal sold as scrap. "We need all of them to cooperate with us and contact us when suspicious items are brought to them."