VIDEO: Two women accused of stealing from Ohio cemetery

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NEW LONDON, Ohio -- When flowers and vases and other mementos started vanishing from grave sites at the Grove Street Cemetery residents couldn't imagine who would do such a thing.

"This cemetery is very dear to my heart. My parents are here; my grandparents are here; my great grandparents are here. I'm going to be here," said one of the victims who asked not to be identified.

Flowers left at her family's grave site as well as a flower pot were gone.

The actual dollar value of what was missing was relatively small, but the sentimental value cannot be measured.

"I gave that flower pot to my father for Father's Day in 1977. It has no price that they can give me to replace that pot," she said.

"Somebody buries their loved one and they go out to the cemetery and they put something down and they expect it to be there, and when somebody removes that theft, it's personal," said Police Chief Mike Marko.

Police were helped by something that everyone should suspect is just about everywhere these days: surveillance video.

Cameras at the cemetery captured the image of a dark car slowly pulling in. The doors open and two women get out, then proceed to go to the graves removing the items, some of which were weighed down by bricks, and putting them in the car.

"I couldn't believe it; they just leisurely shopped through our cemetery taking what they wanted," said the victim.

With the help of the video police were able to identify and charge Evelyne Cantu, 61, and Donna Riley, 63, both of nearby Sullivan Township.

Riley, they say, is the elected fiscal officer in the township.

"It's a position of trust, no different than being a police officer, we are held to a higher standard and when something like this happens we are gong to pay the price for it," said Marko.

Police say both women were initially cooperative, but after hiring attorneys have pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor theft charges.

The items that were missing have not been returned.

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