(WFLA) Bartow police are investigating a disturbing case of attempted grave robbery.
The crime happened sometime before May 10 when a worker discovered a disturbed grave at the Palm Cemetery.
The grave belongs to World War II Veteran Willie Graham. Graham died in 1999 at the age of 94.
When the worker discovered the grave and casket had been opened, he also found Mr. Graham’s pants were removed from his body and discarded on the ground near the casket.
Otto Brown is related to Graham and is very upset that someone would treat a grave in this way.
“I couldn’t believe it because Mr. Graham was very, very close to me and I just couldn’t believe anyone would do something like that. But then again I thought about it and anything that can happen in the world, someone will do it,” said Brown.
Brown grew up next to Graham and says he was a respected member of the community.
“He was a math teacher and so he really inspired to pursue that field because math is a beautiful field. When Mr. Graham retired, he would still go to the barber shop and teach math in the barber shop and do people’s income taxes and stuff like that,” said Brown.
Bartow police are investigating the case. Deputy Chief Bryan Dorman says the thief will be charged with a second-degree felony if he is caught, but believes the person should also be thinking about his actions and other consequences.
“Not only his life should be respected, but his gravesite should be respected and folks that go in and do stuff like that for mere possessions or valuables, they have a higher authority to report to, higher than me,” said Dorman.