Monday 29 April 2013

Burke County Graves of Revolutionary and Civil War Soldiers Looted for Collectables

Larry Rothfield, I think, gets it about right in the title of his post: Welcome, America, to the world collectors have made, in which no cultural patrimony is safe from looting, not even that of white Southerners .

The text refers to an Augusta Chronicle article by Wesley Brown, 'Grave-looting part of new black market for artifacts', April 26, 2013.
Graves of Confederate soldiers could be the new black market source for war collectibles. As TV shows such as PBS’ Antiques Roadshow and History Channel’s American Pickers and Pawn Stars attract millions of viewers, criminals are going to extreme measures to find buried treasure. In Burke County, two men are accused of desecrating and looting the Old Church Cemetery graves of five soldiers in search of heirlooms [...] At the core of the black-market trade of historic war relics, experts say, is the inability to easily verify the history of Confederate artifacts [...] The lack of background data enables private dealers and online collectors to sell large quantities of stolen artifacts under claims they are the heirloom of a distant relative [...] .
The "old collection" argument. The article notes that one button off a Confederate uniform from the Civil War can sell for as much as $150. Uniforms and medals range in value from $500 to several thousand dollars. A general’s or officer’s sword can go for between $20,000 and $30,000, antiques brokers say.

Read all about it in these related stories:

Reward offered in Burke County cemetery desecration, Thursday, April 18, 2013
the remains of an infant casket and the corpses of five Confederate and Revolutionary War soldiers were dug up sometime before Saturday 13th April at the Old Church Cemetery, which dates to 1758 in the east Georgia countryside near Waynesboro in Burke County.

2 men charged in Burke County grave robbery, April 22, 2013/
Two Waynesboro, Ga., men were charged Monday for the grave robberies and the seldom-used felony charge of malicious removal of the dead from a grave. Accused were reportedly: "Jerry Atkinson, 39, and Ralph Hillis Jr. [41...] who goes by the nickname “Bubba”..." Hillis was in custody in Richmond County on Monday night, but Atkinson managed to escape when authorities approached his house on April 22 when he jumped out a back window. A methamphetamine lab was reportedly discovered in his home when police called. ("More charges are expected in the case"). The Sheriff's Office says Atkinson and Hillis were identified after receiving multiple tips from the public.

Burke County grave robbery suspect still on loose
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - reportedly hiding in a swamp.

Photo: On the Run, Jerry Atkinson


 UPDATE May 3rd 2013 It was reported May 1st that Mr Atkinson has been apprehended ('2nd grave robbery suspect found wearing dress, wig', WRDW-TV , May 1, 2013)
Investigators say 39-year-old Jerry Atkinson was found inside a home on Hancock Landing Road in Burke County disguised as a woman wearing a wig and dress [...]  Jerry Ralph Morris, 44, is being charged with harboring a fugitive. 

1 comment:

kyri said...

its amazing how low people can go just to dig up a few relics.i hope they make an example of them and not just slap them on the wrist like we do hear in the uk.

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