Arnold Fricks was arrested Monday and charged with felony theft by taking and burglary, and Dustin Chastain was arrested Tuesday and charged with two counts of felony theft by receiving stolen property, according to Lt. Jay Baker, spokesman for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.
Fricks, 23, is accused of stealing eight brass vases valued at $400 each from the Macedonia Memorial Park Cemetery between May 13 and May 17, Baker said.
Deputies have recovered three of the vases, which serve to hold flower arrangements as part of gravestones.
Baker said investigators recovered the vases along with other stolen property at the home of Chastain, 17, after they received a tip from an anonymous informant.
Baker said it appears the suspects were trying to sell the vases as scrap metal to a recycling center, as evidenced by damage to some of the bases that held them in place.
Baker said metal theft is not uncommon in Cherokee County.
“Fortunately, thefts from cemeteries is not an issue we’ve faced very often, but it’s definitely problematic and we’re very glad to be able to arrest these individuals,” he said.
Baker said the three undamaged vases have been returned to cemetery officials and the sheriff’s office is in the process of notifying the victims that may not know they had been taken—the suspects allegedly stuck the flowers back into the ground to make it appear as if nothing was amiss.
Meanwhile, detectives are still trying to locate the other five vases.
“It’s very possible that they’ve already been sold or destroyed,” Baker said.
During the same time frame, Fricks also allegedly entered the Macedonia Baseball concession stand and took baseball equipment and apparel, an iPod docking station and a large first aid kit, Baker said.
He said the cost of the items taken from the concession stand on East Cherokee Drive totaled over $500.
Fricks remains in custody at the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center with a $23,900 bond and Chastain was released Wednesday morning on an $11,400 bond, Baker said.