A local scrap metal dealer alerted Johnston Police, leading to the arrest of a local man on several felony charges for stealing brass graveside vases from as many as 75 cemetery plots.
The Providence Journal reported that police charged Charles R. King, 26, of 18 Angell St., Johnston, with desecration of graves, receiving stolen goods, and larceny over $500 on May 4 following their investigation.
Johnston Police issued their full report of the arrest to JohnstonPatch on May 8, which states that, in one area of the cemetery, King left only the vase at his mother's grave.
Ptlm. John DeAngelis reported on Apr. 11 that the president of Highland Memorial Park called police headquarters about the apparent theft of the flower vases, which had been purchased for $365 each.
Det. Brian M. Loffredi then reported on Apr. 12 that he received an anonymous call alleging that King had stolen the vases and sold them to the Aluminum & Copper Recycling scrap yard.
Loffredi wrote that he went to the scrap yard and spoke with the owner, who produced a receipt from March 15 with King’s name on it, showing that he had presented 84 pounds of brass for scrap and received $159.60.
Surveillance footage also showed King placing the box on a platform and the employee taking a vase from the box, according to the police report.
Following his trip to the scrap yard, Loffredi reported that he went to the cemetery to examine the area where the vases were stolen. In a section where about 20 vases were missing, Loffredi wrote, he located a single grave marker that still had the brass vase — the one for King’s deceased mother.
On May 3, Loffredi responded to J & S Scrap Metal after an employee recognized the cemetery vases from a “scrap alert” issued by the local police department, which provides scrap metal dealers with items suspected of being stolen.
According to Loffredi's report, the worker said he recalled a man presenting 20 of the vases on Apr. 9 and collecting $109. He later identified King from a photo lineup, Loffredi wrote.
Sgt. Joseph Salvadore and Ptlmn. Derek Parascandolo and David Loffler arrested King at his home address on May 4.
King was presented as a bail violator and remanded to the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston pending arraignment in District Court. On May 7, he was ordered held without bail for the bail violation, and surety bail was set for the new charges.