Merced thieves steal urns from grieving families

FRESNO, Calif.

Police say the suspect is part of a two person team and Merced police believe the thieves targeted the cemetery late at night. Authorities say they brought a screwdriver and then used it to open glass doors on a case that held the urns. The suspects then stole the urns still carrying the remains.

Investigators say these two men violated unwritten rules, when they took off with about a dozen urns.

"That's pretty low, that's pretty low. They just don't have feelings towards other people. They just care about themselves," said Randy Huddleston of Merced.

Huddleston comes to Evergreen Cemetery to remember his son, Cameron. He cannot imagine how other families who have already lost loved ones are now coping with the loss of their remains.

In May maintenance workers at the cemetery saw broken glass and discovered the urns missing. Investigators say Richard Madsen and Marc Reid stole the brass based metal to sell it.

"They would cut them up and they would take them to a recycling place and turn them in for cash," Lt. Tom Trinda with Merced Police said.

What families and staff members at Evergreen Cemetery find unimaginable is they threw the remains into a trash can.

"It was horrible, I was devastated, I could not even imagine. You can't wrap your head around something like that and to the families it's horrible," Rebecca Cruz with Evergreen Funeral home said.

Police arrested Madsen and are now looking for Reid. This isn't the first time burglars have targeted the cemetery.

In the past they took off with some metal vases to turn a profit. But no one at Evergreen Cemetery thought criminals would ever steal an urn.

"The little bit you had of them is gone forever and you're always going to have questions, why, why? And you don't get answers," Huddleston said.

Friday night Merced police are still looking for Marc Reid. They say if you do see him, stay away because he could be dangerous, and call police.

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