VIENNA TOWNSHIP, MI (CNN/WJRT) -- An arrest has been made in connection with the theft of nearly 200 items from two Clio area cemeteries.
For the past two months, people visiting the graves of loved ones have reported flowers and mementos were missing.
Sheriff Robert Pickell says a 44-year-old woman is being held in the Genesee County Jail on felony larceny charges. She could face up to five years in prison if convicted.
Lisa Corcoran, of Vienna Township, was arraigned Wednesday. Bond was set at $5,000 and she has not been able to post it.
Around April 1, people visiting the Woodlawn Cemetery and the West Vienna Cemetery in Vienna Township have complained that many items with sentimental value have been stolen. A handmade mosaic bench was among the things removed.
Pickell assigned Sgt. Jason Murphy to the case and he investigated thefts from 24 grave sites on six occasions.
An alert visitor to one cemetery noticed a woman driving a silver Pontiac full of flowers leaving the cemetery. That led Murphy to a home in Vienna Township, where he found a house and lawn full of things taken from the cemeteries. Pickell says Corcoran has a history of theft. He says stealing from a cemetery is one of the most disgusting crimes he has handled.
"To steal from the dead is an unimaginable act that defies description. Upon talking to Sgt. Murphy, I committed all of the resources necessary to solve this mystery. Families and loved ones deserve to have their peace restored," he said.
The sheriff's department will return items found at Corcoran's home if they can identify the graves they were taken from.
(05/31/17) - Headstones robbed - dozens of people visiting their loved one's find things missing.
It's a story ABC12 News has been following since last week. Now, investigators are finding that someone is trying to peddle the valuables for cash.
Earlier this month, a Clio-area woman put a call on social media after her a handmade bench was stolen from her daughter's grave at Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery.
"There is something wrong with somebody who steals from graves," Marie Heath said.
She shared a photo of the bench on Facebook. It got 60,000 shares.
Then, she filed a report with the Office of the Genesee County Sheriff. We are learning that their investigation is uncovering dozens more people who are victims.
Sheriff Robert Pickell says they think whoever is doing this was trying to sell the stolen stuff for cash. They have been able to retrieve some of the sentimental belongings, including Heath's bench.
Pickell is holding a news conference Thursday at 10:30 a.m.