UPPER DARBY Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood keeps thinking he's seen it all. And then someone rips off a cemetery, and his whole worldview changes.
"I guess nothing's sacred anymore," Chitwood said. "It's sad that these family members made a monument for their loved ones, and some scumbags ruin it for money."
The "scumbags" Chitwood referred to stole four heavy bronze doors from the front of two mausoleums in Arlington Cemetery, on State Road near Shadeland Avenue in Drexel Hill. They're valued at about $9,000 apiece, bringing the total take to somewhere in the $36,000 range.
Police on patrol Monday discovered the doors missing, and investigators believe the theft happened sometime last weekend, Chitwood said.
Stealing the doors wasn't easy. Chitwood estimated the 6-foot tall, 3-foot wide doors each weigh several hundred pounds. He said officers at the scene Monday tracked footprints in the fallen snow to a hole in the cemetery's fence.
Police believe the thieves parked a vehicle near the hole, through which they loaded the loot.
But, why steal from a cemetery?
"I guarantee you these guys were heroin addicts," Chitwood said. "They'll do anything to support their habit, including something this despicable."
Chitwood is asking for the public's help in finding the thieves, as it's likely they'll try to sell the doors for scrap, he said.
"Anyone who sees these doors will know right away that they were stolen," he said. "We can't let these guys get away with this."
Tipsters should call Upper Darby Police's anonymous tip line at 610-734-3439.