2 charged with robbing from cemeteries in Hamilton Township

HAMILTON TWP., N.J. - October 3, 2013

35-year-old Christopher Gutschow of Trenton and 43-year-old Michael Stasinski of Hamilton have been charged with stealing hundreds of bronze vases and urns from grave markers at both Colonial and Greenwood Cemeteries.

Cynthia Tomko was among dozens of family members who came to the Colonial Memorial Park in Hamilton Thursday to see if the graves of loved ones had been targeted by the two accused grave robbers.

"They need to be put away, they are sick, they really are. I mean you don't do that," Tomko said.

"They stole my uncle's urns from the gravesites, actually three different gravesites. This is the second time it happened. How can you rob from the dead? It's just a shame," Len Przemelewski of Crosswicks said.

Mike Williey of Thiel's Memorials says offensive as it is, this problem is nothing new.

"In fact, in past years we used to engrave people's names when we replace them, just trying to slow it down, but they don't care about that; they're just taking them and go," Williey said.

Willey says the vases sell for between $200 and $300 and a scrapper might pay $5 apiece.

Police say normally a scrap yard would suspect stolen goods if dozens of the vases showed up at once.

"They are pretty remarkable in shape and size and most of the scrappers know that. I think what they did was destroy them to the point where they look as though they were just scrap material," Captain James Stevens of the Hamilton Township Police Department said.

"You bring your loved ones here to rest in peace and then they do something like this. It's terrible, it really is. I don't know how someone can do something like this," Lucy Flora of Hamilton Township said.

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