A Florida man is behind bars after authorities claim that he stole human remains from at least one grave in Coconut Grove. Local 10 News reports that 39-year-old Pedro Gonzalez was arrested on Wednesday and charged with multiple counts of burglary, disturbing contents of a grave, and disfigurement of a tomb.
The man’s alleged activities were discovered when workers at the Charlotte Jane Memorial Park Cemetery found that a casket had been disturbed. This incident took place around June 25, but it was reportedly the second time in several months that the same deceased person’s grave had been disturbed. The first incident took place around December 14. The owner of the cemetery even tried to take measures to further secure the casket, but with no success.
Authorities say that the Florida man does not have any relationship to the deceased person. The victim’s next of kin has been contacted, and she does not know Gonzalez either. In other words, this is a mystery. His motive for stealing body parts has not been figured out at this time.
This is not the first time this kind of crime has gotten media attention — and it’s certainly not the first time this has happened in the state of Florida. Florida woman Debra Farinella was accused of stealing from cemeteries to decorate her home in 2013. The Huffington Post reports that the 57-year-old woman stole various statues, lights, and flower planters, but she did not steal human remains. In 2013, a West Virginia man was arrested after he was caught allegedly stealing valuables out of the caskets of buried people. In 2010, a woman’s body was stolen from a Long Island cemetery. The deceased was a woman who had been buried for approximately 12 years, and authorities at the time believed that the person or persons responsible came to the cemetery well prepared. The same thing happened in Long Island in 2003, and three teenagers were arrested for the crimes. Also, just this year, three young men were arrested in Indiana for stealing the skulls and other remains of buried bodies.
People are driven to rob from graves for multiple reasons. Many times, grave robbers are after jewelry and valuables that can be sold. Other times, the motives are far more nefarious. The most recent arrest of a Florida man has not provided any motives as of yet, but that may come in updated reports. Do you know of any gruesome stories involving grave robberies?
[Photo: Miami Police mugshot/Pedro Gonzalez]