Six people have been arrested and charged in connection with theft of cemetery vases and church air conditioning units in three Upstate counties and authorities say more will be arrested in the days ahead.
During a press conference in the Grand Jury Room of the Union County Courthouse, Union County Sheriff David Taylor, Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller, Pacolet Police Chief Robert Ivey, and Lt. M.D. Gabriel of the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office announced that six people had been arrested on multiple grand larceny, malicious damage, transport of non-ferrous metals, and cemetery desecration charges.
Those arrested include:
Michael Shane Hill, 33, 990 N. Highway 150, Pacolet, is charged by the Union County Sheriff’s office with two counts of grand larceny, one count of obtaining signature under false pretenses, three counts of transporting stolen non-ferrous metals, and two counts of desecration of human burial grounds. Shane is charged by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office with four counts of grand larceny and one count of malicious damage to property. He is charged by the Pacolet Police Department with eight counts of obtaining non-ferrous metal unlawfully, one count of malicious injury to a place of worship, seven counts of removal of a memorial marker, and two counts of grand larceny.
Brittany Paige Wright, 19, 4460 Old Pacolet Road, Spartanburg, is charged by the Union County Sheriff’s Office with one count of transporting stolen non-ferrous metal. Wright is charged by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office with four counts of grand larceny and one count of malicious damage to property. She is charged by the Pacolet Police Department with one count of grand larceny.
James Douglas Upton, 28, 2175 Upton Road, Spartanburg, is charged by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office with two counts of grand larceny.
Bobby Dean Dimsdale, 57, 123 Lybrand St., Jonesville, is charged by the Union County Sheriff’s Office with one count of receiving stolen goods.
Hill, Wright and Upton are in jail in Cherokee County while Dimsdale is in jail in Union County. At the beginning of Friday’s press conference, Mueller announced that two other individuals, Kenneth Ray Davis and Jessica Lynn Davis, 263 Bryant Road, Pacolet, had turned themselves in at the Cherokee County Detention Center that morning. He said the two will each be charged by his office with two counts of grand larceny and one count of malicious damage.
Taylor said the Union County charges grew out of an investigation that began on April 22 when deputies were dispatched to 1314 Spartanburg Highway in reference to the theft of a missing headstone vase. When deputies arrived on the scene they found several headstone markers were missing. The estimated cost of replacing each marker is $200-500.
During the course of the investigation, Taylor said his office began receiving information that neighboring communities were having similar problems and that law enforcement in those communities believed the same individuals might be responsible. In addition to the thefts in Jonesville, Taylor there had been similar thefts of copper headstone vases in Pacolet from Floyd’s Pacolet Chapel . An air conditioning unit from the Church of God in Pacolet had also been stolen.
Hill and Wright are charged by the Union County Sheriff’s Office in connection with the thefts in Jonesville and by the Pacolet Police Department in connection with the thefts in Pacolet. Taylor said the vases were stolen and broke apart by the suspects in an attempt to disguise their origin so they could be sold to a recycler. To illustrate this, the press conference featured a two table covered in pieces of broken vases. While a cemetery vase can cost as much as $300, Taylor pointed out that the pieces of metal covering the table would have brought only $11 at a scrapyard.
In Cherokee County, Hill, Wright, Upton, and the Davises, are charged in connection with the theft of a total of five air conditioning units from four four churches earlier this month. Mueller said the cost of replacing the air conditioning units ranges from $4,000 to $6,000. He said that Hill, Wright and Upton were taken into custody Sunday and they and the Davises are currently being held in the Cherokee County Detention Center.
Taylor said he expects at least three more arrests to be made in connection with the case.
For more about the arrests of the suspects, the crimes they are accused of committing, and the investigations that led to their arrests, log on at www.uniondailytimes.com and/or read Saturday’s edition of The Union Daily Times.