Join Riverfront Times Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Metro East Man Wanted in 'Despicable' Cemetery Crime Spree

Posted By on Thu, Mar 4, 2021 at 7:53 AM

click to enlarge Thomas Williams is accused of stealing about 80 vases from burial sites. - COURTESY BETHALTO POLICE DEPARTMENT
  • COURTESY BETHALTO POLICE DEPARTMENT
  • Thomas Williams is accused of stealing about 80 vases from burial sites.


A Metro East man is wanted in the theft of dozens of brass cemetery vases that police suspect he may have sold for scrap metal.



Bethalto, Illinois, police officers were called on February 23 to Rose Lawn Cemetery. During the previous night, about 80 vases had been stolen off of burial sites, police say. Officers found the discarded flowers scattered across the ground.

At the time, Bethalto police Chief Mike Dixon called the thefts "despicable" and put out a plea on Facebook for tips. He added a note to whoever was responsible.

"As for the suspect(s), who I’m sure will see this post, I want you to know that our officers will identify and apprehend you, and our State’s Attorney’s Office will ensure you are relocated to the state ran facility for which you belong," Dixon wrote. "You would serve yourself well by turning yourself in and showing the courts that you have some small amount of remorse and decency."

Whether the vase snatcher did actually see the post is uncertain, but no one came forward to surrender to police. Authorities say the cost of replacing all the vases is more than $4,000, but they estimate the total value as scrap metal is less than $50.

The cemetery is covering the cost of the vases, police say.

On Tuesday, Bethalto police provided an update. They now say the thief is a 52-year-old named Thomas C. Williams, last known to be living in the Wood River or East Alton area. Williams has a long arrest record, mostly for run-of-the-mill traffic violations, driving under the influence busts and the occasional theft case, according to Madison County court records.

Prosecutors for the Madison County State Attorney's have issued a felony theft charge, and there is a warrant for Williams arrest along with a $20,000 bond once he's in custody.

Police were still looking for him this week and ask anyone with information to call 618-377-5266.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at doyle.murphy@riverfronttimes.com or follow on Twitter at @DoyleMurphy.
  • Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get the latest on the news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.
  • Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 14, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation