Drug Bust Turns Up Stolen Tombstones

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Tuesday afternoon drug bust turned up 24 stolen tombstones in Loma Linda (Published Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011)

    A Tuesday afternoon drug bust in Loma Linda turned up more than drugs. The guns that were discovered at the suspect's home weren't a surprise, but the 24 tombstones in the backyard were a different story.

    Those tombstones are now crammed into the storage area of a San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department storage area.

    The names are familiar to someone, somewhere -- Cortes, Pearson, Arriola, Cabral. It will take a while to sort them out and find loved ones.

    But why did someone take them? Aside from some metal framing, which would have a modest recycling value, the markers themselves are made of granite and other stone.

    "They're not really sure," said Cindy Bachman of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. "As you can see, there are a couple of them that did have some type of metal engravings or pictures, probably brass or copper, those have been removed."

    The stones turned up at a home in the 10900 block of Cabrillo Avenue in Loma Linda. Deputies were serving a search warrant on drug charges.

    Neighbors didn't notice anything unusual about the resident. But neighbor Hazel Galindo said there was always activity at the home.

    "People just would come and go all the time, all hours of the day," said Galindo.

    Deputies arrested John Orville Bleuer, 50, and said they planned to charge three other people who had been spending time at the home. The tombstones were valued at close to $50,000 when they were purchased, new. But their resale value is probably minimal. And their value to loved ones, of course, is hard to calculate.