At least nine headstones at Union Springs were damaged. “They just pried them off. In one instance we know they used a grinder to grind them into pieces so that they wouldn't be easily recognized when they turned them in,” said State Police Investigator David Stebbins. Stebbins says the thieves were stealing the bronze plaques and selling them to scrap metal dealers for cash.
One of the dealers called police. That led them to Jeffrey Telvock, Nicole Smith, and Carl Bond all of Auburn. Police believe over the past few months the three targeted at least six cemeteries in Wayne, Seneca, and Cayuga County. Stebbins says the suspects tried to cover their tracks by ditching some of the stolen medallions in the Cayuga Canal. “We sent NYS divers into the water there and recovered 16 of these medallions that we believe these same individuals have stolen,” said Stebbins.
Although police were able to make an arrest and recover some of the stolen medallions, they say it's unlikely the 20 brass plaques that were stolen will ever be recovered. Anyone with questions about replacing the plaques can call the Wayne County Veterans Service Agency at 315-946-5993.