Mystery of Backyard Gravestones Solved

They were not stolen, just mistakes

By Yvonne Beltzer
|  Friday, Aug 19, 2011  |  Updated 12:43 PM PDT
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San Bernardino Sheriff's deputies have figured out the origin of 24 tombstones they found in the backyard of a Loma Linda home this week, the Press-Enterprise newspaper reported.

The markers reportedly come from the Monumental Bronze and Granite Company in San Bernardino.

Denver Cooley, who owns the company , told the newspaper that the gravestones were discarded because they are have mistakes on them so that had to be remade. Some of them had incorrect dates and others were marred by equipment failures.

Sheriff's deputies first thought the tombstones had been stolen from local cemeteries, but they checked with nearby cemeteries and none of them reported any missing markers.

The deputies had gone to the home in Loma Linda on Tuesday to serve a search warrant as part of an investigation into possible drug sales.

Cooley said he gave the grave markers to a contractor who had remodeled his office to use in construction of a patio.

He said the represented some 20 years accumulation of tombstone mistakes.

One mystery, however, remains. How did the tombstones end up in the backyard of the house of John Orville Bleuer, 50, who was arrested on drug-related charges?

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