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Several bronze headstones, other items looted from Downey Cemetery

March 30, 2011 |  3:47 pm

Several bronze headstones were removed from grave sites at Downey Cemetery, which dates to the Bronze-cemetery
19th century and counts Civil War veterans among those buried there, police said.

Downey police were called to the cemetery in the 12900 block of Lakewood Boulevard at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday after receiving a report about the theft of at least four bronze headstones from various graves, said Sgt. Brian Baker.

About half a dozen more of the bronze headstones were moved or disturbed, Baker said. In addition, police said many bronze inlays that highlight military service and personal accomplishments were removed from graves.

The cemetery, the final resting place for about 9,000 people, dates to 1868. Besides Civil War veterans, others buried there include people who served in foreign wars, most recently the Persian Gulf War.

Police believe the thieves were seeking money through recycling of the bronze pieces. Local recycling facilities were told of the theft and have been asked to contact the police if anyone shows up with the stolen items, police said.

In 2008, two men stole a 6-foot bronze statue of a gold miner from the Carthay Circle area of Los Angeles; the statue was later recovered from an L.A. scrapyard. Los Angeles police eventually arrested two men who were later sentenced to 16 months in state prison for the theft of the 512-pound sculpture. They had cut it from its stone mooring at the busy intersection of San Vicente Boulevard and McCarthy Vista.

Police said they were looking for two men described as white or Latino. One is about 6 feet, 3 inches, and weighs about 300 pounds. The second man, also white or Latino, is about 5 feet, 8 inches, and weighs about 250 pounds.

Both were last seen wearing white shirts and gray shorts and leaving the area in a black “lifted” Chevy Silverado truck with a black camper shell, police said.

"We are hoping that someone will recognize that truck," Baker said.

Anyone with information on the crime is asked to contact Det. Jerry Price at (562) 904-2359 or Det. Mark Galindo at (562) 904-2326.

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-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Concrete was chipped away in an attempt to steal this grave marker at Downey Cemetery. Credit: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

Click for crime reports across L.A. County on The Times' interactive database

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