‘It is a desecration’: Historic cemetery in Richmond hit by thieves, vandals

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond police are investigating a case of theft at the historic Shockoe Hill Cemetery.

Caretakers told 8News they found a cast iron cross missing from one of the graves.

“It goes right to the core of what we do and how we want to protect this place,” Jeffry Burden, a caretaker said.

Burden is a member of Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery. He says that the cemetery is not guarded every day making it an easy target for thieves and vandals to strike. Volunteers released surveillance images of five people walking through the sacred grounds Saturday around midnight – the same time volunteers say the monument went missing.

“It is a desecration,” Burden said. “These markers are put here for historic, commemorative purposes and of course the theft of grave markers, the actual individual markers is especially horrible.”

Last year, a Nottoway County man stole dozens of items from the cemetery, prompting caretakers to keep their guard up. 

Burden finds these acts within the cemetery disturbing. 

“Hopefully with this attention and the knowledge that we have surveillance cameras up, folks will think twice before doing something like that,” Burden said.

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