Stolen tombstones found during Calif. meth raid

AP News
|
Posted: Aug 17, 2011 2:34 PM
Stolen tombstones found during Calif. meth raid

Authorities said Wednesday that narcotics investigators raiding a Southern California home during a methamphetamine bust found something odd in the backyard _ two dozen granite and marble tombstones.

One of the stolen grave markers was traced to the nearby Montecito Memorial Park in Colton, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles, said San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cynthia Bachman.

"Some of them may be from other cemeteries," she said. Investigators were trying to locate family members so the markers can be returned to the proper place in graveyards.

The 24 tombstones scattered around the site of Tuesday's drug bust have an estimated value of $48,000, she said.

Deputies said the suspects were selling methamphetamines from the residence. While in the backyard during the raid, deputies noticed tombstones weighing hundreds of pounds each.

"The strange thing is, they don't have any value to these suspects," Bachman said. "They are made of stone. Sure, they have sentimental value to the families, but they are worth nothing to these people."

During the raid at Loma Linda home, deputies served a search warrant and arrested a resident. John Bleuer was booked for investigation of methamphetamine possession and sales, possession of firearms and possession of stolen property.

Three other residents identified in the warrant _ Steve Hansen, Lisa Jackson and Louis Anchelowitz _ weren't home at the time of the raid and weren't in custody on Wednesday, Bachman said. All four are expected to be charged and arraigned on Thursday.

The Montecito cemetery, built in 1927, is operated by Houston-based Service Corporation International. A Montecito cemetery receptionist referred callers to the SCI press office, which didn't immediately return telephone messages.