Man arrested in connection with May 23 cemetery thefts at Blair Memorial Park

An Altoona man was arrested in connection with thefts from a local cemetery.
State Police report that 32-year-old Charles Jones of Altoona admitted to have stolen a total of 56 bronze vases, 100 bronze veterans’ standards, and 20 aluminum veterans’ standards from Blair Memorial Park in Antis Township.
The bronze vases were valued at $7,000, the bronze veterans’ standards were valued at $5,000, and the aluminum veterans’ standards were valued at $400.
In the morning of May 23, Blair Memorial Park caretaker Walter Bush reported the thefts to police. At approximately 2:30 p.m. on the same day, Matthew Caraciollo of Caraciollo Salvage in Altoona contacted State Police to report that a man was present at their business attempting to sell a large quantity of bronze vases, veterans’ standards and related items. Caraciollo, having been earlier apprised of the theft at Blair Memorial Park, immediately became suspicious.
State Police subsequently made contact with Charles Jones at Caraciollo Salvage. In a non-custodial interview, Jones admitted having stolen the vases and veterans’ standards from Blair Memorial Park for the purpose of selling the metal as scrap.
At that point, Jones was taken into custody. Most, if not all of the stolen property had been recovered. However, it should be noted that most of the veterans’ standards appear to be have been intentionally crushed or cut, making it impossible to return these items to their original condition.
It is anticipated that the value of the stolen property, as well as the repair cost estimates, will probably increase as a full assessment occurs.
Jones was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Paula Aigner and jailed in lieu of 10 percent of $75,000 cash bail. A preliminary hearing is set for May 29 before Magisterial District Judge Fred Miller in Tyrone.