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Hearing April 24 for final suspect in Breidablik grave marker thefts

BREIDABLIK — Two of three men accused of stealing or selling brass grave markers from the Breidablik cemetery are serving sentences. The final suspect goes to court April 24.

Joseph Felice, 28, of Poulsbo, pleaded guilty Feb. 15 to possession of stolen property and first-degree trafficking in stolen property, and was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison.

Brian Lindsay, 41, is serving 30 days in county jail. He pleaded guilty March 8 to possession of stolen property and second-degree trafficking in stolen property. He was sentenced March 21.

The Prosecuting Attorney’s office and Jeremy Toliver, 38, of Poulsbo, are negotiating a plea agreement, according to the Prosecuting Attorney’s office. Toliver is due in court for a hearing April 24.

The thefts were discovered Nov. 11, Veterans Day. Brass markers had been pried off of 12 graves. Sheriff’s officers arrested Felice, Lindsay and Toliver Nov. 13. Investigators believe Felice and Toliver stole the grave markers and sold them to Lindsay, who then tried to sell them to a scrap metal dealer in Gorst.

A fourth suspect arrested by Bremerton police Nov. 15 was determined to not be involved in the theft and trafficking, but was found guilty of eluding a police officer.

Detectives recovered 10 of the 12 grave markers. Each sustained damage that could not be repaired; a grinder was used to remove identifying information. Detectives estimate the total loss of the brass markers, to the next-of-kin of those interred in the cemetery, at about $15,000. According to the website www.scrapmetalpricesandauctions.com, some scrap metal dealers were paying as much as $2.97 per pound for scrap brass a few months before the thefts.

Cemetery association president Dale Lofall said the shock from the thefts lingers five months later. The markers hadn’t been replaced as of Monday. It’s up to the families to arrange for replacement which, in the case of veterans, will be taken care of by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Mortuaries will set the markers.

Because of the appeal of brass as a scrap metal, Lofall recommends that families get stone markers.

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