Gravestones of vets found in man's backyard

March 11, 2008 4:08:54 PM PDT
They are the gravestones of veterans. By one estimate, there are as many as one thousand of them.

They once marked the resting places of military personnel some dating back to the Spanish American war.

The owner of a home on Columbus Road in Burlington Township, believed to be in his 90's, used them for hardscaping, officials said.

The gravestones were likely discarded after being replaced with new markers.

However, Hendley says there is a protocol for disposing of them and this is not it.

Officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs Criminal Investigation Division supervised the removal of the stones today.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for New Jersey would neither confirm nor deny an investigation, but we've learned that it may be part of an ongoing probe into the theft of government property.

Years ago the national cemeteries were under the Army's jurisdiction. The homeowner worked at Fort Dix, according to neighbors. No one, however, could say how long ago these stones were gathered.

As one source pointed out, the gravestones still carry the names of those who served our nation. They should not be used in someone's garden.