Cemetery robber arrested in Orihuela

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RETURNED: The stolen Virgin Mary statue reunited with its family. ©Guardia Civil

A THIEF who allegedly caused damage to as many as five cemeteries in Crevillente has been arrested by the Guardia Civil in Orihuela.

The detained man – a 35- year-old Spaniard – is believed to be behind robberies from the cemeteries that included a bronze statue of the Virgin Mary worth around €4,500.

The robberies of the religious statues and other icons all took place during November 2017 and investigations quickly got underway to find the culprits across both the Alicante and Murcia provinces, to check if any of the items were being offered for sale in businesses or online.

Not only did the families and friends of the affected graves suffer the loss of property, they also felt that the final resting places had been desecrated.

The most valuable of the pieces stolen was eventually traced to Santomera in Murcia and subsequently returned to the owners and to its rightful place, where it had accompanied the remains of relatives in a family burial plot for almost 100 years.

Once that figure had been located, the Guardia Civil found evidence that led to the identification and arrest of the main suspect.

The search for the remaining missing four figures continues.

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