Local Scrap Metal Shop Helps Return Stolen Cemetery Monuments
Last February four monuments were stolen from Buffalo's Forest Lawn Cemetery -- and thanks to one local scrap metal shop, all the sculptures have been returned, and a man arrested for the crime.
One of the monuments, well-known to visitors at Forest Lawn, was a bronze statue depicting a couple waltzing.
The statues were worth more than $150,000 combined, reports the Buffalo News. Police say they recovered the stolen items, and arrested a Riverside man.
Michael T. Piscitello was caught after trying to sell the items at local metal scrap yards:
"Piscitello faces felony counts of criminal possession of stolen property, criminal mischief, grand larceny and cemetery desecration, according to the Erie County District Attorney's Office. He was arraigned in Buffalo City Court and must return June 9."
Niagara Metals played a key role in the recovery of the items and the arrest of the suspect, who reportedly sold the statue to the shop for $150. It cost more than $46,000 to originally make.
"A person bringing stolen material to Niagara Metals is desperate," said Todd Levin, the founder and president.
In this case, Levin said an employee had questioned the seller, who claimed the piece came from an estate sale.
Families are grateful to both authorities and the scrapyards for helping recover the monuments.
"It really does feel like a miracle and I am extremely grateful," said Michelle Gigante, whose family erected the statue of the bronze dancers at the grave of her father. "This is such a story of triumph and celebration."
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