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St. Pete man accused of stealing 125 bronze vases from cemetery, selling as scrap metal for cash

Douglas Deck, 31, sold the vases as roughly 661 pounds of brass scrap metal for $1,149, according to Pinellas detectives.
Douglas Deck, 31, was arrested Saturday after authorities said he stole more than 125 bronze vases from headstones in a St. Petersburg cemetery, then sold them as scrap metal.
Douglas Deck, 31, was arrested Saturday after authorities said he stole more than 125 bronze vases from headstones in a St. Petersburg cemetery, then sold them as scrap metal. [ Pinellas County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Jul. 25|Updated Jul. 25

A St. Petersburg man was arrested Saturday after detectives with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said he stole at least 125 bronze vases from a Pinellas County cemetery, then sold them as scrap metal to make some quick cash.

Douglas Deck Jr., 31, was arrested Saturday on four counts of dealing in stolen property, one count of damage or removal of a tomb or monument and one count of possession of a controlled substance after deputies found 0.25 grams of fentanyl in his possession when he was taken into custody, the Sheriff’s Office said.

According to detectives with the Sheriff’s Office’s burglary and pawn unit, more than 125 vases were removed from cemetery plots at Memorial Park Funeral Home, located at 5750 49th St. N in St. Petersburg between July 12-13. The vases were affixed to concrete headstones on the gravesites and were meant to hold flowers or other ornamental decorations.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the removal of the vases cost the cemetery an estimated $150,000.

Then, on July 21, deputies received a call from a local scrap metal yard where it was later determined that Deck had sold vases for cash on four separate occasions. Detectives were able to recover 124 of the stolen vases from the scrap metal dealer — a total of 661 pounds of bronze that Deck sold for a combined $1,149.

During the investigation, deputies say that Deck’s bicycle was located in the cemetery, which is located next to his home.

Deck admitted to deputies that he “found” the vases and decided to keep them for himself, the Sheriff’s Office said. He remains in Pinellas County Jail with bond set at $107,000, jail records show.

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