Man stole vets’ urns, sold them, police say

David Gillespie

A 26-year-old man is accused of stealing $9,000 worth of urns from a Grand Junction cemetery, mostly from the headstones of military veterans, then selling some of them for $124.

David Gillespie of Grand Junction was ordered held Wednesday at the Mesa County Jail on $5,000 bond, personal recognizance, after he was advised by County Court Judge Bruce Raaum on possible misdemeanor charges including desecration of venerated objects, misdemeanor theft and felony theft between $5,000 and $20,000.

Gillespie was extradited to Mesa County following his arrest on a warrant pursued by a Mesa County Sheriff’s Department investigator.

The Sheriff’s Department opened an investigation in May after an employee at Memorial Gardens, 2970 North Ave., reported the theft of 15 urns, worth about $600 apiece, which had been attached to various headstones.

The urns, about 5 pounds and 12 inches tall, were designed to hold flowers and not cremated human remains, according to an arrest affidavit. The employee told authorities the missing urns were “mainly those of veterans.”

The cemetery employee indicated they’d be replacing the items, and they also put word out to local recycling businesses asking them to watch for them, the affidavit said.

On June 20, an employee with Grand Junction Metal Movers called authorities after Gillespie allegedly showed up with 11 brass urns and sold them. Gillespie presented his driver’s license during the transaction, the affidavit said.

“(Employee) stated Mr. Gillespie told her his deceased grandfather had recently passed away and he had collected the urns from his property in Utah,” the affidavit said.

By the time it was realized the items were stolen, Gillespie had already cashed the $124 check he’d received, the affidavit said. Memorial Gardens eventually verified the items were the same stolen property from May.

An investigator learned Gillespie was kicked out of his residence on Garfield Drive on June 10 for allegedly stealing a cellphone from a roommate, the affidavit said.


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