Gaining popularity: Stealing from cemeteries

Hubert Santoyo is charged with grand theft and trespassing.
Hubert Santoyo is charged with grand theft and trespassing.

Reporter: Alex Zequiera

Sheriff's deputies arrest a man caught stealing from a cemetery near Lake Worth. Turns out, when confronted, investigators say the suspect didn't even give his own name.

The man, according to police, came to the Dorsey E. Earl Smith Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Lake Worth and stole a flower vase. He then lied to authorities about his identity.

It all went down Wednesday night. An employee at the Memorial Gardens spotted a suspicious man throwing a flower vase into a bush before taking off in his car. Deputies responded to the complaint and arrested the man as he tried to leave the funeral home.

They identified him first as 19-year-old Salvador Santoyo of Hialeah, Florida. It turns out, he actually gave deputies his brother's name and age instead of his own name, Hubert Santoyo.

Deputies say they're taking this crime seriously, and he could be facing quite a number of charges.

There may be additional charges of desecrating a cemetery depending on the type of damage he did within the facility.

It's a very sensitive issue for people. When they have lost a loved one, they put them to rest, and they don't expect people to come and vandalize or to steal sensitive personal family items.

Santoyo is charged with grand theft and trespassing. Authorities say this is not the first time this kind of crime has happened in our area.

In fact, they say, they've recovered about 115 stolen flower vases in our area with a total worth of about $33,000. A crime that appears to be gaining popularity.

Meanwhile, a local cemetery is adding more security after the recent theft of hundreds of bronze vases. Boynton Beach Memorial on Seacrest Boulevard is adding video surveillance cameras and locking metal gates at a cost of more than $12,000. Thieves hit the cementary in February stealing 303 bronze vases. The gate should be installed in about a month.