A Kokomo woman who police say tried to sell more than 100 bronze vases stolen from two cemeteries now faces four felony counts of receiving stolen property.
Kokomo police arrested Amanda R. Edwards, 33, this week on a warrant charging her with four Class D felony counts of receiving stolen property.
Deputy Prosecutor Michael Krebes filed the warrants last week in Howard Circuit Court.
In April, Kokomo police reported that 152 bronze memorial vases, valued at $53,200, were stolen over a period of time from Sunset Memory Garden and Kokomo Memorial Park.
A tip led police to Hunt Salvage & Coal Yards on Ohio Street in Kokomo. There, witnesses said they saw Edwards bring in a number of bronze vases on several occasions to the salvage yard to sell, according to a probable cause affidavit filed July 24.
After obtaining receipts from Hunt Salvage, police learned Edwards brought in a box full of bronze vases she claimed were items she salvaged from an old church.
Receipts showed Edwards brought in 1,480 pounds of bronze and was paid $1.60 a pound. All total, she was paid $2,368 by the salvage yard.
According to police, families paid an estimated $350 for each vase.
Tom Young of Hunt Salvage said when the company buys scrap, they require a photo identity card with the seller’s name and address. Sellers are required to sign the ticket and state law requires they record where the scrap metal was obtained.
Hunt told police Edwards said the vases were salvaged from an old church she was helping tear down.
When questioned by police, Edwards first told police she found the vases in a creek bed near Brookside Free Methodist Church on Ind. 26. She estimated she found about 60 vases in and around the creek bed. She told police she had been scrapping the vases for several months because she needed the money. While she admitted she thought the vases were stolen, she denied stealing them, the affidavit stated.
Police interviewed people at the church who said they’ve never seen any vases around the creek bed and that the ditch is cleaned out on a regular basis.
In a second interview, police said Edwards admitted she lied and said she found them behind Mervis Steel in a pile near the train trestle. She claimed she lied because she thought she was trespassing and didn’t want to get into trouble.
She further said she thought they were from a cemetery and probably were stolen, but she took them to Hunt’s because she “was desperate for money,” court records showed.
Edwards bonded out Wednesday after posting $500, 10 percent of the $5,000 bail. She was ordered to appear in Howard Circuit Court Aug. 8 for her initial hearing.
If convicted, Edwards could face up to three years in prison on each charge.
• Mike Fletcher, Tribune crime reporter, may be reached at 765-454-8565 or via e-mail at email@example.com.