Doors, coffins stolen from mausoleums

October 17, 2008 3:10:55 PM PDT
Police are investigating theft and vandalism involving mausoleums at a Jewish cemetery in Elizabeth, New Jersey.Authorities say two bronze doors measuring 6 foot by 2 1/2 feet were stolen. Police reportedly received a call from the B'Nai Jeshurun Cemetery on Carrington Street just after 9 a.m. Friday stating that an employee had just chased a beige station wagon with tinted windows. Two men were inside, according to officials.

The vehicle was described as either a Ford or a Mercury with wood grain panels and a possible license plate of UN996L.

The two men were described as in their late 30s or early 40s. Police said that after the vehicle fled the cemetery, the worker discovered that one of the mausoleums had been broken into and the two doors were missing. The cemetery owner says that two caskets were also stolen, but that they were empty. The bodies in the caskets had been disinterred, or moved, to another cemetery years ago.

Soon after the theft, an Elizabeth scrap metal shop reported that two men fitting the suspects' descriptions and driving a station wagon attempted to sell them similar bronze doors.

The men fled the scene before making the deal.

Anyone with information is asked to call Elizabeth police at 908-558-2050.

The cemetery is home to congregants from the Temple B'nai Jeshurun in Short Hills. The grounds are maintained by Sandy Epstein, who runs Raiken-Epstein Memorials of Kenilworth.

Epstein's monument business was founded by his grandparents in 1913, and still maintains Jewish cemeteries in the Newark area.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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