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2 tombstones found during drug raid were stolen, police say

Tombstones found in drug bust
As calls poured in Friday saying that a batch of tombstones discovered during a Loma Linda drug bust were not stolen from graves, authorities were trying to determine where the markers came from.

Two dozen grave markers were found Tuesday at a Loma Linda home in the 10900 block of Cabrillo Loop after deputies served a search warrant on a suspected drug house.

Inside, they found methamphetamine, guns and pipes-–and the tombstones scattered around the backyard.

Although two men have spoken up to say the gravestones were not stolen, investigators have determined at least two were.

Denver Cooley, owner of Monumental Bronze & Granite, said he was going to throw out the tombstones because they had mistakes on them and couldn’t be used.

He gave them to Yucaipa contractor Mike Ellis, who passed them along to Loma Linda resident John Bleuer, who told Ellis he’d use the stones as pavers. Bleuer was one of four people arrested during the Tuesday raid.

San Bernardino Sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Bachmann said Friday that officials have confirmed that two of the stones were stolen--one from Agua Mansa Pioneer Cemetery and another from Montecito Memorial Park, both in Colton.

But deputies are still investigating the other 22 headstones, Bachmann said.

“They’re attempting to verify if these were attained through a manufacturer or a distributor, and if in fact they were not stolen,” Bachmann said.

Bleuer was arraigned Friday on charges of possession of a controlled substance for sale and the illegal possession of a firearm.

He originally faced charges of stolen property, but court records show those charges were not part of Friday's arraignment.

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-- Kate Mather

Photo: San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies stand next to a flatbed truck containing gravestones found during a methamphetamine arrest. Credit: Ken Anthony / San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

 
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