LEECHBURG (KDKA) — Two people accused of stealing bronze vases worth thousands of dollars from a cemetery in Westmoreland County and then selling them for scrap are heading to trial.
Daniel Toy, 27, of Kittanning, and Brandi Jo Verner, 28, of Vandergrift, waived their rights to a preliminary hearing in court this morning.
Toy and Verner are charged with theft and receiving stolen property in connection with the incidents.
They are accused of stealing more than 100 brass vases from the Greenwood Cemetery in Lower Burrell.
“They stole vases from my mother, my grandmother and my grandfather. And my grandfather died in 1956,” said Jim Negley, who attended Tuesday’s hearing.
The vases are worth $735 each.
According to investigators, they would then take them to a scrap metal yard in Armstrong County and sell them for cash, which they would then split to allegedly buy heroin.
“They actually put the families through a lot of heartache, especially someone who just died,” said Negley. “My mother recently passed away. We went to put flowers on the cemetery for the holidays only to find that the vases were stolen.”
Police estimated the total value of the missing vases at close to $89,000.
“I’d like to get the vases back. But the one good thing I can say for Greenwood is, they replaced some of the vases with plastic ones because of the holidays. But I’m hoping to get the vases back, and I’m hoping to see the people do some restitution,” Negley added. “But you’re never going to be able to calm the fears that they’ve caused to the families that they stole the vases from.”
A third person was also part of the alleged burglary ring, 20-year-old Zechariah Berger of Lancaster. Police said he’ll be charged once he gets out of a drug rehab facility.
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