Pensioner handed two-year suspended sentence over graveyard copper theft

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Selection of some of the retrieved copper grave markers. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

A pensioner who stole copper plating from graves at a cemetery in Järva County has been handed a two-year jail term in suspended sentence, regional daily Järva Teataja reports. He has also been hit with a hefty fine.

Arvi Lugu, 76, pleaded guilty to destroying grave markers in order to steal copper nameplates at Reopalu cemetery in the town of Paide, Järva Teataja reports (link in Estonian).

As part of a plea deal entered into at Järva County Court, Lugu's sentence will remain suspended pending no further criminal offense to his name over the two-year period.

Damages to Paide city government of just under €50,000 are also due, while a monthly payment plan has been worked out which will be deducted from his monthly pension to pay of some of this, and he must also pay just under €60 per month in legal costs.

Lugu had taken around 200 copper and brass nameplates, which have been declared items of cultural value, from the unguarded late last year, and had been attempting to sell the items to a local recycling plant.

The National Heritage Board (Muinsuskaitseamet ) will be putting up €12,500 towards the restoration of the damage, while the culture ministry says it will provide support also over a two-year period.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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