Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

Police have arrested a man after human remains were stolen and grave sites were damaged at Footscray General Cemetery.

Two grave robberies occurred four days apart in what police said at the time appeared to be deliberate and targeted crimes.

On both occasions partial human remains were removed from coffins and considerable damage was done to graves.

Police arrested a 40-year-old Spotswood man, who is currently being interviewed.

He is expected to be charged with interfering with the corpse of a human being and criminal damage.

Three police officers stand in the cemetery, with one officer pointing at a grave
Police have arrested a 40-year-old Spotswood man over the grave robberies and damage.(ABC News: Patrick Rocca)

The cemetery borders the suburbs of West Footscray, Yarraville and Brooklyn. There have been about 19,000 burials conducted at the site since it opened in the 1860s.

Police scoured the area for CCTV footage, but said there was “very little CCTV” at the time.

Police increased patrols around the area and the council and cemetery trust increased security in a bid to prevent the crime from happening again.

Theft can carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, while the removal of body parts carries a five-year penalty.

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