A New York man was arrested Thursday following a more than month long investigation into a “disgusting” cemetery desecration involving the graves of veterans.
Eric T. Logue, 42, of Wellsville, NY was charged with 28 felony counts and 14 misdemeanor counts after the Wellsville Police executed warrants for his arrest and a search of his residence Thursday. While the initial arrest was for charges of criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, Logue was also a suspect in the desecration of graves at Sacred Heart Cemetery according to police.
On June 14th, reports from the upstate NY cemetery notified law enforcement that bronze plaques adorning 13 separate headstones had been stolen valued at $400 each at a cost of $150 to install, the New York Post reported.
GRAVE ROBBERY 😨. Over the weekend, 13 nameplates on the graves of World War II veterans were stolen from the Sacred Heart Cemetery in Wellsville. A local VFW post has raised $13,000 as a reward. Contact the Wellsville Police Department at 585-593-5600 if you have any info. @WKBW pic.twitter.com/u9A3K7Z8av
— Ryan Clarke Arbogast (@ryanarbogastTV) June 21, 2022
“The plaques are affixed to the granite headstones of veterans, stating their military branch, rank, the war they fought in, and birth and death dates,” the Post explained.
U.S. Marine Corps LCpl. Chris Martelle (ret.) told the outlet of his grandfather Edward G. Curtis Sr., who served as a Private First Class with the U.S. Army during WWII, whose grave was one of those desecrated by the suspect.
“It is just disgusting that this has happened,” Martelle said.
Upon initially discovering the theft, Martelle took to Facebook and wrote, “This p*sses me off to no end. This is my Grandpa Curtis head stone. He was a World War 2 veteran and some low life piece of sh*t ripped it off. I hope the police catch up with you before I do. My understanding there is a reward. If someone comes to me with this plate and names Ill match it.”
The reward Martelle spoke of was for $13,000 and offered up by local civic groups, families and veterans in an effort to locate the suspect ahead of his arrest. Richard Caruso, a fellow former Marine and friend of Martelle told the Post, “You won’t find one person who isn’t enraged.”
According to the Wellsville Police, Logues charges included:
Cemetery Desecration 1st degree E felony 13 counts
Grand Larceny 4th degree E felony 13 counts
Criminal Mischief 4th degree A misdemeanor 13 counts
Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 5th degree D felony 1 count
Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 5th degree D felony 1 count
Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 7th degree A misdemeanor 1 count
It was noted that the investigation is ongoing and that further charges against Logue are pending. Furthermore, no motive had been assigned, but it was believed the suspect had stolen the plaques to sell as scrap metal.
The police went on to explain that Logue “was arraigned in Village Court and released on his own recognizance pending electronic home monitoring through the Allegany County Department of Probation.”
The Post expressed that they had sought out Logue for comment but he could not be reached at the time.
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