2 arrested in theft of hundreds of cemetery items

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Associated Press

Posted on January 17, 2014 at 6:03 PM

CONROE, Texas (AP) — Two people are in custody and a third is sought in the theft of more than 150 vases, grave markers and other items from cemeteries in three Houston-area counties.

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office said Friday that 58-year-old Donald Brown and 45-year-old Talina Westerman each are charged with engaging in organized criminal activity. Both are in the Montgomery County jail in Conroe.

Authorities continue searching for 25-year-old Michael Johnson Jr.

Sheriff's Lt. Brady Fitzgerald says the items were made of precious metals and were taken to recycling centers for sale. The subsequent investigation resulted in the recovery of 13 grave markers, 144 vases, eight brass rings, and three brass picture frames with an estimated value of nearly $57,000.

Investigators determined items also were stolen in Harris and San Jacinto counties.

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