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Cemetery theft nets felony charges
A 36-year-old man is charged with 29 felonies for allegedly stealing grave markers. Jason Edward Diltz, of Port Angeles, faces one count of second-degree theft and 28 counts of unlawful removal of a grave marker, all Class C felonies.
Clallam County Sheriff’s deputies believe Diltz stole 28 memorial vases from the Mount Angeles Memorial Park cemetery at 45 Monroe Road in Port Angeles.
According to court documents, the 10-inch tall vases were reported stolen Feb. 27. The vases, collectively valued at about $3,000, have bronze stripes and weigh about 8 pounds each, deputies said.
A Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputy inquired about thefts from cemeteries in Port Angeles after investigating a suspicious incident at a metal recycling business, deputies said.
The owner of a Bremerton metal recycling business reported a man with a Washington state driver’s license identifying him as Jason Diltz tried to sell about 30 vases on Feb. 26, deputies said.
Feeling suspicious about the transaction, the owner declined to buy the vases and wrote down the license plate number of the van in which Diltz and another man left. Deputies said the license number returned to a van registered to Diltz.
On Feb. 29 deputies contacted Diltz at his home, which is 1/4 mile from the cemetery, and asked him about the vases, deputies said.
Diltz told deputies he gave them to two random men with the agreement of money in return, according to an arrest report.
Diltz was arrested and placed in custody at the Clallam County jail on suspicion of theft.
Prosecutors charged him with the 29 felony counts in Clallam County Superior Court on March 1. He was released on his own recognizance under the condition he not go to any cemeteries or graveyards. His arraignment is scheduled for March 9.