Monday, July 21, 2014

Cemetery theft probe grows wider

February 19. 2013 6:14PM
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KINGSTON TWP. – A man charged by Dallas Township police Monday with stealing 582 bronze vases valued at more than $407,000 from two cemeteries is a person of interest in other vase thefts from a Franklin Township cemetery.

Robert Clayton Krostag, 45, with addresses listed as Campground Road and Gashi Road, which are in Exeter Township, is suspected of stealing bronze vases from the Memorial Shrine Cemetery on West Eighth Street for more than a year.

State police at Wyoming said at least 40 bronze vases have been stolen from Memorial Shrine. He has not been charged with the thefts from the Franklin Township cemetery.

He was arraigned Monday by District Judge James Tupper on felony charges of theft, receiving stolen property and institutional vandalism that were filed by Dallas Township police.

Krostag was remanded to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $15,000 bail. He has been jailed since his arrest by Plains Township police on Oct. 17 on charges he burglarized a vacant house on Powell Street, where he allegedly stole radiators in April.

Dallas Township police allege Krostag targeted Chapel Lawn Cemetery on Route 415 and Fern Knoll Burial Park on Midland Drive from July to October.

According to the criminal complaints:

Leonard Wasmanski, caretaker at Chapel Lawn, reported on Sept. 12 that bronze vases were stolen from the cemetery. Wasmanski said the vases were fitted within tombstones.

Wasmanski told police he received a phone call from Russell's Scrap Yard in West Wyoming inquiring about a man selling bronze vases. Police followed up on the call and learned Krostag had gone to Russell's on Aug. 29 and was paid $130 for 79 pounds, the complaint says.

Police said Krostag was given rides to Russell's Scrap Yard and a scrap yard in Scranton.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled on Nov. 27 on the charges filed by Plains Township police and Nov. 29 on charges filed by Dallas Township police.

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