The alleged thief of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bronze from a cemetery in the Bronx was arrested late Tuesday after he was caught on camera by a security guard.
About $160,000 in bronze door handles, nameplates, vents, and other items were stolen from more than 60 mausoleums at St. Raymond’s Cemetery in Throgs Neck.
Louis Peduto, a 56-year-old homeless man, was charged with grand larceny, possession of stolen property, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of burglary tools, NBC New York reported. The theft took place over a five-day span.
Police arrested Peduto after they sent out fliers with his picture to local businesses, the broadcaster said. Patrol officers later found him and arrested him on Tuesday.
On Monday, Peduto went to the cemetery—presumably to take more bronze—but was confronted by a cemetery security guard.
The guard chased him and when Peduto ran off, he dumped a bag of tools and stolen bronze, The New York Post reported, citing sources familiar with the incident. The guard was also able to take a picture of him, which was then given to police.
Bronx residents were appalled with the theft, prompting some to take back their family members’ grave markers.
“I decided to walk over before somebody does steal it, you know, and just bring it home,” resident Alicia DeCurtis told the newspaper. “And I said, ‘Before they steal it, I’m going to remove it, I’m going to safe-keep it in my house.’”
St. Raymond’s Cemetery is one of the busiest in the United States, with more than 4,000 burials per year, the cemetery’s website states.
“It’s a horrible crime,” Matthew Horace, the head security officer of FJC Security that oversees security at the cemetery, told NY1. “These are thugs and criminals that decided it was within the scope of their purview to come and destroy or desecrate the monuments to their loved ones.”
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