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Man arrested in vandalism of graves in Tarpon Springs

A Tarpon Springs man was arrested Wednesday after graves were dug into at Rose Hill Cemetery. Michael Randall Davidson, 26, 1506 Valley Road, is charged with three counts of disturbing the contents of a grave, police said.

Police began investigating after a car was seen about 4:30 a.m. parked near the cemetery at 1015 E Tarpon Ave. A description of the car was passed to Tarpon Springs police, who arrested Davidson on Wednesday afternoon.

Police had not determined Wednesday evening why the graves were dug into, Police Chief Keith Bergstrom said.

When he was arrested, Davidson had nothing that appeared to have been taken from a grave, Bergstrom said.

Holes up to 3 feet deep were dug into at least two of the graves, exposing the contents, records at the Pinellas County Jail show. The vandal caused $100 in damage to a third grave by destroying an earthen or shell "monument," creating a hole 14 inches long and 10 inches wide, records show.

Last May two Port Richey teen-agers dug up the grave of Gilbert Mason at Rose Hill Cemetery. They removed his skull and arm bones. One of the teen-agers told police he wanted to glue the bones to his car as a decoration.

Mason's remains were discovered in a car driven by Christopher Gene Shand, 18, of Port Richey, police said. Shand and another teen-ager went to the cemetery to collect the bones, police said. Shand was sentenced in July to three years' probation.

Davidson was being held at the Pinellas County Jail on Wednesday in lieu of $75,000 bail.