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Captured trio admits to cemetery thefts in Berks, Chester, Montgomery counties

By 69 News, follow: @69news, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 24 2014 03:39:59 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 24 2014 04:17:22 PM CDT
Berks County Memorial Gardens

Andrew Valentino/69 News

MAIDENCREEK TWP., Pa. -

Three Pottstown residents have been jailed for allegedly stealing about $100,000 worth of bronze vases from area cemeteries.

Police captured the suspected trio early Monday morning after being dispatched for a reported theft at the Berks County Memorial Gardens in Maidencreek Township.

The person who called police, a nearby resident, noticed a disabled car being assisted by a tow truck on Evansville Road. Once everyone left, police said the neighbor walked over to the area where the car had been parked and found a large number of bronze vases piled beneath a pine tree.

Officers eventually located the suspects' car at a nearby Dunkin' Donuts and found what looked like a piece of vase in the vehicle, police said.

The three occupants, identified by police as Francis Olekszyk, 19; Luke Wright, 35; and Cheryl Vogelei, 26; were apprehended.

The suspects confessed to the attempted theft at the memorial gardens, as well as a similar theft at the same cemetery on June 16 and at other cemeteries in Chester and Montgomery counties, police said.

The suspects have been charged with criminal attempt and conspiracy in the attempted theft on Monday. The other thefts, police said, are still under investigation, so no charges have yet been filed in those cases.

In the meantime, all three suspects are in the Berks County Jail. Bail for Wright was set at $25,000; the other two are imprisoned on $10,000 bail, according to court records.