A Florida woman has been placed under arrest after authorities suspect her of stealing hundreds of dollars worth of memorial items and holiday decorations left on graves.
For weeks, monuments and other mementos lovingly left for the deceased by surviving family members had been vanishing from various gravesites in Bradford County by what was suspected to be a serial grave looter. Dubbed “The Gravesite Grinch” by locals, many had been on the lookout for the suspect. Police now say they nabbed the woman they believe had been behind the spree of thefts.
After an outpouring of tips by members of the community, police set their sights on 34-year-old Jenni Hudkins. Hudkins was arrested on Christmas morning, as well as a second woman, Janice Crawford.
“We exhausted everything we could. Even with all this technology. We could not have done this without the community’s help. She’ll have her day in court. This was such an incident that touched our whole community,” said Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith.
Hudkins had been selling the items to Crawford, who runs a thrift store in the area. Crawford says she didn’t know the items had been stolen and when she asked Hudkins where the items came from, Crawford says Hudkins told her the items were things she and her mother had in storage.
Police say Crawford attempted to hide the stolen gravesite items in her home upon learning the source of the items, rather than reporting the stolen items to police. She has been charged with dealing in stolen property.
It is also believed by police that Hudkins had not been working alone in the string of thefts and have told the press that there may be more arrests connected to this case. Hudkins’ bond has been set at $100,000, while Crawford is currently released on a $25,000 bond.
According to reports, all of the items seized by police have been returned to their rightful owners.