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posted: 6/21/2013 8:10 PM

Former employee charged with stealing cemetery vases

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  • Vincent Peterson

      Vincent Peterson

 
 

A former cemetery worker from Bensenville faces theft charges after authorities say he tried to sell bronze vases from gravemarkers taken from Shalom Memorial Park and Randhill Park cemeteries near Arlington Heights.

Cook County Judge Thomas Fecarotta set bail at $75,000 Friday for Vincent Peterson, of the 100 block of East Crest Avenue, who was arrested Thursday after police say he tried to sell 24 bronze vases from grave markers to a Villa Park auto parts store and recycling center.

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Authorities say Peterson, 24, worked at the adjacent cemeteries about five years ago but was terminated. He was reportedly wearing a T-shirt with the name of the cemeteries on it when he tried to sell the vases to a clerk at A+ North Ave. Auto Parts on Thursday.

Officials from the Randhill and Shalom Memorial Park cemeteries, located in the 1700 block of West Rand Road in an unincorporated area near Arlington Heights, contacted the Cook County Sheriff's Police about 1 p.m. Thursday to report the thefts of the five-pound, foot-tall vases. It's believed they were stolen sometime between Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

Villa Park police arrived to the recycling center on the 0-100 block of North Avenue when they say Peterson was driving away. Officers conducted a traffic stop and saw the bronze vases in his car in plain view, police said.

Fourteen vases were found in the car, and another 10 had been sold to the recycling center for $7 each, authorities said.

The Daily Herald was unable to reach a representative from the cemeteries.

If convicted of the class three felony, Peterson could be sentenced to two to five years in prison. Probation is also available.

He next appears in court on July 11.

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