Man Arrested for Stealing Veteran Service Grave Markers

from the WPD press releases:

Worcester, MA (October 12, 2011) –On Friday, October 7, 2011 at approximately 8:30 AM the Worcester Police License Division received a call from the owner of Starr Scrap Metals informing the police that he had just taken in, for the second time in two days, a number of cemetery veteran service grave markers for scrap. The owner took possession of these brass markers from a male who provided identification as Alan A. Long, Jr. of 23 East Street, North Grafton, Ma. This business paid out to Mr. Alan a total of $148.35 for 42 markers with the two transactions.

Per city ordinance, a person who scraps metals or second hand articles have to provide to the business a photo identification (which is photographed by the business) their vehicle registration number and a written statement from the person offering the articles stating that they are in lawful possession of the article being offered.

On this same day members of the License Division went to Starr Scrap Metals to review the items and obtain the suspect information. Officers observed that some of the markers had been cut from the brass rod holders which were also scrapped by Mr. Alan. Upon review of the seized items officers observed two names on the markers with their names on the back plate. Police traced one of the markers to a World War I veteran who died in 1954 to Woodlawn Cemetery in Clinton, Ma and the other name to a woman who belonged to the American Legion who had died in 1940 who was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Sterling, Ma. Both police agencies were notified and assisted in the investigation. At this time the officers entered this new information into the Scrap Theft web based site which informs all scrap yards in the northeast as well as law enforcement agencies to be aware of these transactions which were now just coming to light.

On the same day the License Division received another call from an employee of Schnitzer’s Metals Recycling informing the officers that Mr. Long had scrapped 53 brass cemetery veteran service markers on October 6th and that they were put aside for the police.

On October 11, 2011 police went back to Starr Scrap Metals to confiscate the markers; upon their arrival the owner of the business informed them that he scrapped 25 more brass markers and holders and paid out an additional $97.55. Police informed the employees to contact Worcester Police as probable cause had now been established for an arrest.

On the 11th, officers went to Schnitzer’s Metal Recycling and confiscated the 53 brass markers which they had paid out to Mr. Long a total of $249.63 over 4 separate transactions from October 4th thru the 6th.

On the same day police received a call from Goldstein’s Scrap Metals that Mr. Alan attempted to scrap more brass cemetery markers and that employees were attempting to stall him for the police; he fled prior to the arrival of police. A short time later police received a call from Starr Scrap that Mr. Alan was there attempting to scrap the markers as well as a sewer cover. Sergeant Faith Roche and officer James Quinn, Members of the License Division, responded to the business and located and arrested Mr. Long; he was charged with Receiving Stolen property over the Value of $250.00 and Crimes Against Morality and Decency by Removing Grave Markers. Mr. Long was transported to police headquarters and interviewed. Information obtained during the interview indicated that the majority of the brass markers came from Hope, Notre Dame and All Faiths Cemeteries here in the city.

At this time officers are attempting to identify ownership of the markers and to return them to their proper place. Effective Monday, October 17, 2011, the markers will be transported to Hope Cemetery located at 119-A Webster Street for those family members who believe that they are missing markers. Some of the markers and their holders have been damaged. The general manager of Schnitzer’s Metals Recycling, Mr. Michael McIntyre, is offering to pay to have the damaged ones repaired with no cost being carried to the family. Many of the markers are stamped with insignia’s including the American Legion, WW I, WW II, Elks, U.S. Marines and Fire Dept.

To date, Mr. Long received a total of $495.53 in cash for scrapping 142 brass markers and 76 brass rods. Mr. Long’s bail was set at $500.00 and was subsequently released from the House of Correction; he is scheduled for a pretrial conference on November 8, 2011.

There will be no new additional information released at this time.