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Dublin: 3°C Thursday 3 December 2020

24 missing gravestones found during drugs raid

Californian police are trying to find out where the plot markers came from.

A sheriff's deputy stands by a truck carrying the recovered gravestones.
A sheriff's deputy stands by a truck carrying the recovered gravestones.
Image: AP Photo/Ken Anthony/ San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department

US AUTHORITIES said yesterday that investigators raiding a Southern California home during a drugs raid found something odd in the backyard — two dozen granite and marble tombstones.

One of the stolen grave markers was traced to the nearby Montecito Memorial Park in Colton, about 50 miles (80 km) east of Los Angeles, said San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokeswoman Cynthia Bachman.

“Some of them may be from other cemeteries,” she said. Investigators were trying to locate family members so the markers can be returned to the proper place in graveyards.

The 24 tombstones scattered around the site of Tuesday’s drug bust have an estimated value of $48,000, she said.

Deputies said the suspects were allegedly selling methamphetamines from the residence. While in the backyard during the raid, deputies noticed the tombstones.

“The strange thing is, they don’t have any value to these suspects,” Bachman said. “They are made of stone. Sure, they have sentimental value to the families, but they are worth nothing to these people.”

One resident was arrested during the raid. John Bleuer was detained on suspicion of methamphetamine possession and sales, possession of firearms and possession of stolen property.

Three other residents identified in the search warrant — Steve Hansen, Lisa Jackson and Louis Anchelowitz — were not home at the time of the raid and were not in custody on Wednesday, Bachman said. All four are expected to be charged and arraigned on Thursday.

The Montecito cemetery, built in 1927, is operated by Houston-based Service Corporation International. A Montecito cemetery receptionist referred callers to the SCI press office, which didn’t immediately return telephone messages.

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Associated Press

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