Three charged with stealing grave markers

The rash of scrap metal thefts around the region reached an insane apex last year when hundreds of military grave markers were stolen from cemeteries in South Jersey and hauled to a scrap yard.

Three women have been indicted in the thefts, and the scrapyard dealer was honored by police for helping them solve the case, according to the Burlington County Times.

The Times said 380 grave markers were stolen, some of them dating back as far as the Civil and Spanish-American wars. Eric Walton — a Cinnaminson man with a scrap yard in Philadelphia — set them aside when they were brought to him, and he asked the sellers a lot of questions.

Jamie L. Babcock, 27, of Bellmawr; Tosha M. Fugett, 25, of Riverside; and Arielle K. Levin, 19, of Palmyra, were indicted by a Burlington County grand jury on Dec. 22, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office told the Times Friday. They’re charged with receiving stolen property and fencing.

Authorities said the women stole these markers from sites in Cinnaminson, Edgewater Park, Riverside, Bellmawr, Cherry Hill and Pennsauken.

Walton bought the markers, then caught the sellers’ license plate on video, and started calling to cemeteries around the area.

Theft of grave markers can be an elusive crime, police told the Times. With plaques this old, it’s possible no one even would have known they were missing.