Woman admits stealing plaques from cemetery

The woman who admitted stealing 37 war veteran plaques from Springston Cemetery was granted interim name suppression at an appearance in the Christchurch District Court.

The woman told police she stole the plaques to sell for cash to buy methamphetamine.

The offending was reported to police on May 6, and a week later they recovered 17 plaques from one Christchurch scrap dealer, and another 20 at a second location. The woman had sold them for a combined total of $1026.90.

Her charge read that she stole 37 brass grave plaques valued at $4000, the property of Selwyn District Council on May 2. She was also charged with possession of cannabis.

The woman appeared on the audio-visual link in the court room.

Judge Brian Callaghan granted her interim name suppression, and remanded her in custody to August 21 for sentencing.

He ordered a pre-sentence report, an alcohol and drug assessment report, and referred her for a possible restorative justice meeting.

The police summary of facts said she used a chisel to remove the plaques and put them in her car. She defaced the plaques, removing the names.

The names on the recovered plaques had been filed off, and a Selwyn District Council spokeswoman said the council was working with Veterans Affairs to replace them.

The Canterbury RSA district president, Stan Hansen, said the theft was a “low blow” and had left himself and many in the military community “totally disgusted”.