UPDATED: DSP Says Brass Illegally Scrapped from Memorial Park, P - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

UPDATED: DSP Says Brass Illegally Scrapped from Memorial Park, Park Denies Wrongdoing

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Ethel Melvin, Lauri Larlham, and Shaughn Graves were arrested for stealing urns from a Dover cemetery then selling them for scrap metal. (Photo: Delaware State Police) Ethel Melvin, Lauri Larlham, and Shaughn Graves were arrested for stealing urns from a Dover cemetery then selling them for scrap metal. (Photo: Delaware State Police)
Donald Melvin, is wanted for conspiracy, desecration and other offenses.  (Photo: Delaware State Police) Donald Melvin, is wanted for conspiracy, desecration and other offenses. (Photo: Delaware State Police)

DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Delaware State Police have charged three employees of a Kent County memorial park, and a relative of two of the employees, with stealing brass grave flower vases and selling them for scrap.
 
Troopers say a man reported on July 28 that several brass flower vases were missing from the gravesites of his relatives from the Sharon Hills Memorial Park west of Dover. Police say detectives learned that vases were being sold for scrap at the Dover Scrap Metal Yard.
 
59-year-old Ethel Melvin, the cemetery manager; her daughter, 42-year-old Lauri Larlham, and another employee, 39-year-old Shaughn Graves, have all been arrested and charged with desecration, conspiracy and other offenses.
 
Ethel Melvin's son, 36-year-old Donald Melvin, also an employee of the park, is wanted for conspiracy, desecration and other offenses. He remains at large.

A spokesman for Sharon Hills tells WBOC that staff there did nothing wrong. He says the flower vases were damaged, and what the employees did has always been normal operating procedure for the memorial park.

The spokesman says he didn't how know it became an issue this time. Police disagree with that assessment. 

"This behavior is illegal and should not be done," said Sgt. Richard Bratz, spokesman for state police.

Stories of issues at the memorial park had some people worried Tuesday morning. John McLean and his wife came out to check on their loved ones' graves.

"It was enough to concern both of us that something might have been taken," he said.

Staff at Sharon Hills also run cemeteries in Camden and Smyrna. State police have no reports of additional issues at either location.

Sgt. Bratz says investigators contacted the memorial park's owner, who is launching an internal investigation. State regulators were also contacted.

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