Police are investigating a series of thefts at a historic Bronx cemetery.
Someone stole $160,000 worth of bronze and other metals from at least 20 mausoleums and grave sites at St. Raymond’s Cemetery in Throgs Neck, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
“At some point late last week, started to notice that items were missing from different mausoleums or different gravesites,” said Chief Security Officer Matthew Horace with FJC Security Service, the company used by St. Raymond’s.
The stolen items which could be sold as scrap metal include door handles, name plates and vents, Papa reported.
“There were items that were made of brass or copper that were stolen and we all know that right now on the open market, brass and copper yields a profit,” Horace told WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman. ”Criminals and thugs try to steal these things.”
It is unclear when the alleged thefts occurred but a security official said a guard recently confronted a man on the property who ran off, leaving behind a bag of burglary tools, Papa reported.
“The person fled and dropped the bag that we believe has burglary tools in the bag,” Horace told Silverman.
On Tuesday, police released the name and photo of a man they said was seen inside the cemetery on Monday morning in possession of stolen brass handles and air vents. Police identified him as 56-year-old Louis Peduto. Peduto man fled without the items, police said.
Peduto is approximately 6-foot-1. He was last seen wearing a dark-colored hooded jacket and a red-hooded sweatshirt, police said.
The 180-acre cemetery is one of the busiest in the United States with nearly 4,000 burials each year, according to its website.
Celebrities buried at the cemetery include jazz singer Billie Holiday and former boxing champion Hector “Macho” Camacho.
“There are a lot of places in here where people can hide or walk, particularly at nighttime,” said Horace.
Visitors to the cemetery called the thefts sad, disgraceful and disrespectful, Papa reported.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).
Tips can also be submitted to the Crime Stoppers website or by texting 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.