Pella Chronicle

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

June 18, 2013

Man faces theft charges for grave markers

OSKALOOSA — An Oskaloosa man has a preliminary hearing today in Mahaska County District Court for allegedly stealing veterans’ grave markers at two rural cemeteries.

Zachary Ryan Durian, 25, 501 Fourth Ave. E., Oskaloosa, faces charges of second-degree theft and third-degree theft for taking 64 grave markers from the Wymore Cemetery and 35 grave markers from the Old Rose Hill Cemetery between May 27 and May 31, according to the complaint and affidavit in Mahaska County District Court.

Second-degree theft is a class D felony and third-degree theft is an aggravated misdemeanor.

Durian allegedly took the bronze marker heads and the solid brass rods of the veterans’ grave markers, said American Legion Sgt. At Arms Fred Bridges. The metal could be sold for its salvage value, he added.

“We discovered them the Wednesday after Memorial Day,” Bridges said. “We went out there to pick the flags up.”

Bridges said veterans had placed the decorations at the cemeteries two weeks before the discovery of the thefts.

The Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office took Durian into custody and filed the complaint affidavit on June 6.

Durian’s preliminary hearing is at 10:30 a.m. today in Mahaska County District Court.

Bridges said it would have cost about $2,700 to replace the grave markers.

“They’re pretty expensive” in terms of the cost and the man hours needed to located the graves and replace them, he added.

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