MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH)– A woman was caught on camera stealing from a grave site at a Middletown cemetery and now police say she’s turned herself in. That family who owns the statue says it has sentimental value and it’s not the first time their son’s grave site has been vandalized.
They set up a camera to watch exactly what was happening there and they couldn’t believe their eyes. Sadly, what was captured on camera Saturday was a woman stealing a statue right off a grave site doesn’t surprise James Reeve. He put a camera near his son’s grave site two and a half years ago for a reason. But, what’s surprising to him is what the woman on tape told police when she turned herself in.
It’s a sight Reeve has played over and over again thinking, “how could you?”
“I don’t know why anyone would want to do this to us,” said Reeve.
Shortly after the video circulated, the woman turned herself in to Middletown Police. Police say she likely didn’t expect cameras near a grave site.
“She was very surprised from what I understand and very remorseful,” said Captain Gary Wallace, Middletown Police.
So what was her reason?
“Just riding through and thinking of her ill family members, and when she saw the statue she decided to take it,” said Wallace.
Police say she also had a loved one pass away recently, but they’re unsure where that loved one was buried.
So, why did James Reeve install a camera near his son’s grave site? For the last ten years he says his son Brandon, who died at 19-years-old in a motorcycle crash, was really never able to rest in peace. Reeve doesn’t want to show his face on camera in this story, but he and his wife did speak to News 8 in 2007, when the gravestone was overturned by vandals, an angel broken, and a stone cracked in half.
The trouble didn’t stop. So, two and a half years ago he decided to put a hidden camera which he checks once a week. Then, on Saturday afternoon, the small angel statue stolen but now in the hands of police.
“No monetary value to it. Sentimental. It’s been here going on ten years,” said Reeve.”You can’t print what I would like to say to her, because it just rips you apart. It rips you apart.”
When asked if there is any good that can come out of this story, Reeve said, “I’m hoping that people just leave people alone in the cemetery. Just leave them alone. They’re gone.”
News 8 spoke to Reeve shortly before the woman turned herself in to police. At that time, he said even if the statue was returned, it was tarnished. But, we spoke with him on the phone after and he says police are returning it to him Thursday.
Police are still investigating and have not yet arrested the woman.