Thieves target George County cemetery for scrap metal

GEORGE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - An iron fence that stood for more than a century in George County was ripped from its foundation last week. Investigators believe the thieves targeted Fairley Cemetery in search for scrap metal.

"This is just unreal," Aubrey Thurston said.

While driving home from a hunting trip, residents Aubrey and Debra Thurston noticed sections of the iron fence were removed.

"I said, 'What?' I hit my brakes, backed up, and I just couldn't believe it was gone," Aubrey Thurston said.

"It is just wrong. You don't take from the grave," Debra Thurston said.

George County Sheriff Dean Howell and his deputy were at the cemetery Wednesday hoping to collect more evidence. They said the thieves walked away with 100 feet of the metal structure and most likely sold it to a scrap yard dealer.

"Scrap iron sells 15 cents a pound, and looks like they got $135 for the fence," Howell said.

Metal thefts are occurring quite often in George County these days. In fact, deputies said they're receiving two to three reports a week.

"It is hard to leave a vacant place in this county, without them taking whatever they can find," Detective Don Harley said.

Deputies blame the rise in theft to the struggling economy and increased drug use.

"They just go around stealing scrap and get what they can to make it through the next day," Hartley said.

Investigators said they have a few leads in the case and hope to make an arrest soon. The Thurston Family said until that happens, they've put up a large 'No Trespassing' sign to keep peace here.

"You do not bother people's resting place. You reap what you sow."

If you have any information that can help the case, call George County Deputies at (601) 947-4811 or Crime Stoppers.

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