Too Much Information

Media attention on crime including specifics provided to the public is usually a positive, but I am not so sure in the following case:

CINNAMINSON, N.J. (CBS) – Three New Jersey women are behind bars for a crime that is becoming more and more common, according to police.

Authorities say they stole brass markers from the graves of veterans at local cemeteries and sold the stolen markers to a scrap yard.

Authorities tell Eyewitness News the suspects needed drug money.

“You need money that bad, you have to start desecrating a grave?” said Sgt. Bill Covert with the Cinnaminson Police Department.

Authorities say the women they arrested are responsible for stealing 380 grave markers and flower urns from local cemeteries, including St. Mary’s in Bellmawr and Lakeview Memorial Cemetery in Cinnaminson.

Police say 19-year-old Arielle Levin, 25-year-old Tosha Fugett and 27-year-old Jamie Babcock didn’t care about the meaning behind the collection, all they cared about was the cash...

Sgt. Covert says a Philadelphia scrap dealer who paid around $1,500 for the stolen goods is the one who tipped off authorities.

If you take the $1,500 scrap metal offer and divide it by the 380 markers, each item's calculated worth is about $4.

Is it really necessary to report the $1,500 value?

I wonder if some opportunistic thieves got any ideas from this potentially easy steal?

Many of the other reports of this story omitted the value of the markers; in my opinion, a much more responsible journalistic approach.

The cemetery directly behind our house is loaded with the brass veteran markers (some from before the American Civil War), and it would be a shame for them to disappear.

True to the old adage: there is no honor among thieves.


My Husband's Watching TV... said...

Drugs suck. Let the dead rest.

Bob G. said...

It might be "new" to JOISEY, but in Philly, it WAS a common practice to steal such markers as THE RUPTURED DUCK from graves.
And that went as far back as the late 1970s.
My father's marker (that Mom secured from the VFW) was taken shortly after we laid him to rest (within 2 months!) back in 1978.

I commend the scrap dealer who turned this over the police..and for a lousy $4 a shot.
It's worth a LOT more to those whose loved ones served this nation.

Excellent collar by the NJ troopers.
And a very good post.

Stay safe out there.

Erin said...

Yeah our news media divulged the weak spot in our officers' vests after an officer shooting. GENIUS.

Stephen Tremp said...

I would hate to be locked up with these three scary looking women. And like the people they stole the brass from, they're already dead. At least on the inside.

jodeeluna said...

Wow, these photos say so much about the character of these women. Now that is low, stealing honor for fast cash. Interesting post.

BobKat said...

"mug-shots" are surreal... people loose their hands for stealing bread to feed their families in some countries. In this case what these women did was very wrong, but how did they make money from these thefts to begin with?

What reputable scrap dealer accepts cemetery markers and urns as valid scrap?

There are obvious crimes committed under many names, some that bring a tear, others anger.

Good post Slam...

Brian Miller said...

ugh. yeah i imagine it may give a few people ideas...there are enough desperate people out there with thier own adicitons to take care of...

Maxi said...

Whatever happened to common sense in journalism?

Krysten @ After 'I Do' said...

Wow that is absolutely horrible.

J. J. in Phila said...

Sad, but very common.

There are some advantages to publishing the value.

With the exception of a very large secretary, there are very few places to get a large number of markers all at once.

Second, any thieves might know that these are very recognizable and may lead to their immediate arrest.

Third, it might alert any potential buyer that a grave marker has not been obtained legally, and may have limited monetary value.

I would add that many organizations decorate graves, for all wars, including the Revolutionary War.

J. J. in Phila said...

That should be large cemetery. :)