Stolen tribute recovered

WELLSVILLE – Village police expect to interview an Aten Avenue woman today regarding items allegedly found at her home that had previously been reported stolen from a St. Clair Township cemetery.

Township resident Dana Wright had reported the theft of an unusual wreath from the grave of her daughter, Paige DeSarro, which had been made specially by Paige’s aunt, Traci Furman.

The wreath was made of assorted colorful flip flops and had been hung April 17 on the back of a memorial bench in Columbiana County Memorial Park for Paige’s 23rd birthday. By April 22, Wright was reporting via Facebook that the wreath was gone, taken as other items had been from her daughter’s grave.

Quickly, people began posting pictures of the whimsical wreath on Facebook, asking anyone who saw it to contact Wright.

On Thursday morning, Wright was called by a friend who reported seeing the unique wreath in a backyard on Aten Avenue in Wellsville.

Wright quickly took a copy of the police report she filed with township police about the missing wreath, along with a photo, to the Wellsville police department.

Wright said police went to the residence, but no one was home.

“That’s probably a good thing, because I could see all the (things) that were cemetery items,” Wright said.

“It was pretty noticeable,” police Lt. Marsha Eisenhart said of the wreath, which she confirmed was recovered at the Aten Avenue address.

The resident there was using the wreath and other items thought to have been taken from area cemeteries as backyard decorations, according to Eisenhart, who said the yard is surrounded by a fence and cannot be seen from the street.

Wright said when leaving the residence, she spotted a brass angel she believed had been taken from the grave of a person she knew. She took a photo of the statue and drove to the Calcutta, where she showed it to her friend, who then also called village police to identify it as her late mother’s memorial.

“You have to be pretty sick to steal from a cemetery,” Eisenhart said, adding that she plans to interview a person suspected in the thefts sometime today and asking anyone who has had items stolen from a cemetery to contact the department at 330-532-1522.

Meanwhile, St. Clair Township Detective Brian McKenzie also placed a notice on the police department’s social media page, alerting people that anyone who has had anything stolen from a cemetery should contact Wellsville police.

“I know quite a lot of things have been stolen from cemeteries. They hope to get some of the things identified,” McKenzie said, adding that recovery of items stolen from cemeteries “isn’t usually that successful.”

He said one of the victims had noted it is not the dollar value of the memorials that matters but the sentimental value.

“Hopefully, it will fall into place for Wellsville police,” McKenzie said.

Wright plans on returning the wreath to her daughter’s gravesite now that it has been recovered.