Grave robbers steal Confederate and Revolutionary clothing from - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Grave robbers steal Confederate and Revolutionary clothing from soldiers' bodies

(Source: WFXG) (Source: WFXG)
The location of Old Church Cemetery. (Source: Google Maps) The location of Old Church Cemetery. (Source: Google Maps)

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Authorities in Burke County, Georgia are investigating after somebody removed clothes from Confederate and Revolutionary soldiers' bodies at a cemetery near Waynesboro.

Investigators said grave robbers turned over head stones, removed caskets from the ground and proceeded to remove the clothes worn by the soldiers, leaving their bones exposed. The robbers also disturbed graves containing children's bodies.

Old Church Cemetery on Idlewood Road is under the care of the American Legion, Post 120.

Post Commander Leroy Matthew Bell, Jr. oversees the cemetery that is a secluded location where people from every century are buried dating back the 1700's.

"Somebody is very sick to do something like this, to desecrate a grave," said Bell.

"I just didn't think of anything like this ever happening," said Bell. "We've never had it happen before as long as this cemetery has been here."

Bell said the gates to the cemetery remain locked all the time and it wasn't until he came out here to cut the grass that he realized that five of the graves were disturbed.

"It would have to be that they thinking they could get some kind of relics," said Bell.  

"Any of the artifacts that would have been buried on some of these soldiers is most likely what the grave robbers were hunting for, whether to keep them for themselves or to sell," said Sgt. Sean Cochran of Burke County Sheriff's Office.  

Investigators cannot pinpoint exactly when these graves were disturbed but believe it happened within the last two weeks.  They are determined to find whoever is responsible.

"They are going to sell it to the wrong person," said Cochran. "They are going to say something, they are going to do something and somebody is going to tell me."

Investigators are restlessly working to bring these graves to rest once again. The post commander said they plan to properly re-bury the soldiers and children soon.

A $1,000 reward is being offered for any information. Bell said they are accepting donations to increase the reward. Anyone interested in donating may contact Bell at (706) 564-6066.

If you have any information regarding the investigation, contact Burke County Sheriff's Office at (706) 554-2133.

Copyright 2013 WFXG. All rights reserved.

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