Thursday, July 17, 2008

Never Fight With Your Neighbors

Neighbor spills dead man's ashes in parking-spot dispute

FORT WALTON BEACH - A man angry his neighbor parked in his parking spot allegedly ripped open a bag carrying the neighbor's fathers ashes and scattered them on the ground Sunday.

The woman told Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office deputies she hadn't been at home in five days and returned to a "belligerent drunk neighbor" at her home on Eglin Parkway.

According to an offense report, the woman heard her car horn going off and her daughter went out to see what was going on. The daughter found the man in the front seat of the vehicle.

When the woman came down to the parking lot, she told deputies the man began to yell and curse at her and she tried to remove a wooden chest containing her father's ashes out of the vehicle. She told deputies the man knocked the box out of her hands. A bag inside the box fell out and some of the ashes inside were spread on the ground.

The woman said she told the man those were her father's ashes and he continued to curse, saying, "(Expletive) off." He then picked up the bag containing the remainder of her father's ashes and tried to dump them in the bushes and on the ground, according to the report.

The woman said she began to scream and tried to pull the ashes away, but he wouldn't let them go. He eventually released the ashes when the bag ripped open.

The man told deputies he didn't want to make a written statement. According to the report, he said he was angry the woman had parked in his spot. He denied knocking the box out of her hand and scattering the ashes. He said the woman must have done it, according to the report.

The man then wanted to know if he could pick up the wooden box, its contents and the ashes and throw them away since they were on his private sidewalk, the report said.

The man admitted to drinking about four beers before the altercation.

The deputy noted he found the wooden chest open with a Navy flag on top, partially on the ground. There was also a broken rosary, an empty cloth bag and a torn plastic bag.

The deputy wrote in his report he'll follow up with the victim regarding criminal charges.

Metal Theft In Cemeteries

Cemeteries have new problem: Metal theft

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Grave robbers, a curse of burial grounds for centuries, are back for new valuables: metal ornaments that can be melted down for quick cash as copper and other metal prices climb.
In West Virginia, it was vases bolted to headstones. In Washington state, it was bronze markers on veterans' graves. In Chicago, it was nearly half a million dollars' worth of brass ornaments.
"It's a crisis of the times," said Ruth Shapleigh-Brown, executive director of the Connecticut Gravestone Network, which monitors cemeteries for theft and vandalism. "People are finding a way to make money."

Across the country, police have reported mounting scrap metal prices translating into increased thefts that range from manhole covers and church downspouts to telephone and power lines.
Stealing from the deadStealing from the dead is a practice that goes back far enough in history to be the subject of curses on the walls of Egyptian pyramids.
A decade ago, metal urns, flag holders and ornaments in cemeteries were mostly ignored by thieves, who instead stole grave =
But with copper currently selling for about $3.75 per pound — close to historic highs of over $4 a pound in 2006 — thieves are carrying off brass and bronze items that can be melted down for the copper they contain.
"I don't know what could be more sacred than protecting our cemeteries," said West Virginia state legislator Kevin Craig, who co-sponsored a law against scrap metal theft after a bronze door was stolen from a tomb at a cemetery in his district in 2006.

The measure, passed last year, increases pressure on scrap dealers to avoid stolen metals by requiring them to keep records of sellers' identities and provide these records to police.
Still, thieves in June stole 150 copper vases worth about $18,000 from a St. Albans cemetery.
"It's a crime of opportunity," said St. Albans Police Chief Joe Crawford, whose department has arrested a suspect in the cemetery thefts.
"A cemetery is a walk in the park" compared to the closed coal mines and active power stations where thieves also seek out copper, he said.
Some thefts covered by insuranceOne factor lessening the sting of such thefts is that many homeowners' insurance policies provide coverage for them under the category of "offsite personal property," said Robert Fells, general counsel for the International Cemetery and Funeral Association.
Those insurance policies don't cover some of the other things sought by thieves at cemeteries, though, which include antique gravestones, flowers and even, in a few grisly instances, human remains.
Most commonly, old graves are disturbed by people hunting for Revolutionary or Civil War relics to sell. In rare cases, body parts are removed by groups for use in occult ceremonies, said Nicholas Bellantoni, Connecticut's state archaeologist.
"It's kind of ghastly, but we've seen it," said Bellantoni.