Uncovering A Grave Robber: Ohio Police Capture Image Of Woman Stealing Stuffed Toy From Infant’s Grave

grave24n-1-webThe police in Ontario, Ohio have succeeded in capturing the image of a criminal who may stand unrivaled among the felon class. This picture was released with others of a woman who has been stealing toys off the grave of a dead infant. That’s right. Not just a grave robber but an infant grave robber. The police decided to set up a hidden camera and nailed these images. They are now seeking any leads on the culprit and, given the quality of the photographs, it would seem likely that the woman (shown here stealing a stuffed duck from the grave of Hayden “Tank” Cole Sheridan) will be identified.

grave24n-2-webTank died in 2007 at only 14 months. Obviously such loss is inexpressible for the family but they have sought some solace in leaving toys at this grave site. However, someone has been appearing shortly after such visits and stealing the toys. The police thankfully did not shrug off the complaint and set up the hidden camera. They did a terrific job. On April 19th, they nailed a woman removing a stuffed duck and are now seeking people to help identify the culprit from photos and a video. This have been going on since 2012.

Given the low value of such objects, the problem is that this despicable crime might be viewed as a misdemeanor or a series of misdemeanors. However, Ohio does have a criminal provision on desecration:

927.11 Desecration.
(A) No person, without privilege to do so, shall purposely deface, damage, pollute, or otherwise physically mistreat any of the following:

(1) The flag of the United States or of this state;

(2) Any public monument;

(3) Any historical or commemorative marker, or any structure, Indian mound or earthwork, cemetery, thing, or site of great historical or archaeological interest;

(4) A place of worship, its furnishings, or religious artifacts or sacred texts within the place of worship or within the grounds upon which the place of worship is located;

(5) A work of art or museum piece;

(6) Any other object of reverence or sacred devotion.

(B) Whoever violates this section is guilty of desecration. A violation of division (A)(1), (2), (3), (5), or (6) of this section is a misdemeanor of the second degree. Except as otherwise provided in this division, a violation of division (A)(4) of this section is a felony of the fifth degree that is punishable by a fine of up to two thousand five hundred dollars in addition to the penalties specified for a felony of the fifth degree in sections 2929.13 to 2929.18 of the Revised Code. If the value of the property or the amount of physical harm involved in a violation of division (A)(4) of this section is five thousand dollars or more but less than one hundred thousand dollars, a violation of that division is a felony of the fourth degree. If the value of the property or the amount of physical harm involved in a violation of division (A)(4) of this section is one hundred thousand dollars or more, a violation of that division is a felony of the third degree.

(C) As used in this section, “cemetery” means any place of burial and includes burial sites that contain American Indian burial objects placed with or containing American Indian human remains.

Effective Date: 09-20-1999

Presumably, they will hit the culprit with anything that they can find short of a violation of the migratory bird act.

Anybody who might have information or recognize the woman in the video is asked to call the Ontario Police Department at (419) 529-2115.

Source: WKYC

39 thoughts on “Uncovering A Grave Robber: Ohio Police Capture Image Of Woman Stealing Stuffed Toy From Infant’s Grave”

  1. Darren – let me give you another example. It is very common here, especially in the Hispanic community to put up a cross where someone dies. Then people add flowers, votive candles, toys, etc. depending on the age of the person killed. All of that stuff is eventually taken down. Is that theft? Is there a bailment allowing someone to clear the area and seize the items?

  2. Heartbreaking and despicable! It’s at least as awful as killing children with drones. I wish people would save their indignation for things that really matter.

  3. Unless she has business there except for stealing, theft, couldn’t a charge of trespass be lodged against this person. Nothing more can be said, we don’t know if she is suffering from the loss as well, or a mental person needing treatment. On its face, it’s quite despicable.

  4. Paul

    How could it be considered abandonment when the family actively went to the police to report the items atop the gravesite were being stolen often? And, it was to such a degree the police set up the cameras. This shows there was no abandonment.

    The suspect did not have lawful authority to take the stuffed animal and was not given bailment or charge of the item by conveyance or any other manner so it is not just a civil matter.

    1. Darren – the suspect would not know that. And, if the story of the suspect is taken at face value, she may not be the original thief.

      At the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial the gifts, flowers, medals, notes, etc. are collected to protect them from both the elements and from theft. If what this woman says is true, is she any different than the US Park Service? Other than they get paid for it. 🙂

  5. They need to show the video @ all the KFC’s and Krispy Kreme’s, some worker will know her.

    1. Nick – I think they already know who it is. See the comment at 7:59

  6. She could make the case that, like garbage, it has been abandoned and is available to anyone to pick up. Good attorney is going to get her off.

  7. On a strict holding of the statute there is NO grave desecration going on. Using the holding some of you are using or are hoping to use, workers removing dead or wilting flowers from the grave site would be as guilty as this woman.
    I think this is more a civil issue, unjust enrichment.

  8. Frankly:

    I would venture to write that her chances of prevailing in a trial, especially a jury trial, are minimal at best.


    I don’t see this as being a case of a novel sentencing for this type of crime. It is an ordinary situation where I have worked at least where convicts tend flowers and lawns of various parks and buildings while they are incarcerated. Your suggestion seems entirely appropriate.

  9. so what on earth was she doing with the toys after she stole them – she is either one of those compulsive hoarders or was selling the toys for what $2 ??????
    A really PATHETIC person whatever the root cause.

  10. We have talked in the past about novel sentencing. One might apply here. I think they should make her place flowers and a new stuffed animal on the grave every two weeks, starting a month before next Easter, and ending a month after next Easter. Call it community service.

  11. Darren, she is not legally convicted yet & if ‘reasonable doubt’ still has any meaning she may never be. But she is already convicted in the court of public opinion I would bet. I _almost_ feel sorry for her as I believe her life is about to become a living hell, Lrobby99 has it right. She may be better off serving time.

  12. Is there a more appropriate word than despicable to describe this woman?

  13. From the link provided by phillyt:
    [the suspect] told authorities that she took a stuffed toy duck from the grave of 14-month-old Hayden “Tank” Cole Sheridan on Saturday because a dog was running loose in the area, and she didn’t want it to destroy the toy.
    What a crock.

    1. I agree Darren. I didn’t see any dogs in that video. It seems to me that she is hoping to plead this out as a misdemeanor so she doesn’t get hit with the grave desecration charge.

  14. I read it was reported someone drove past the cemetery and tossed the stuffed duck out the window, returning it of sorts. I can see eventually a friend ratting her out on this.

    Taking stuffed animals from the grave of a baby…that’s pretty damn low. What a wench.

  15. This woman is a sociopath. The insensitivity of this woman to the living who lost their child is beyond comprehension. Can she not imagine how they will feel when they come to visit the gravesite and the things they left are gone?

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