A Woonona man who stole almost 500 brass vases from a Unanderra cemetery pawned the items to a scrap metal yard for just $200 cash, a court has heard.
Police allege Brett Craig Buddle, 45, and a female co-accused drove to the Wollongong City Memorial Gardens and Crematorium sometime between 6pm last Wednesday and 11am last Thursday, making off with 496 small flower vases that had been attached to memorial plaques dedicated to lost loved ones.
Several plaques were also damaged in the process, police say.
It is alleged Buddle attended Cringila scrap metal recyclers Steel City Metals on the Thursday afternoon, using false details to present the vases for sale.
He was paid $206.15 in exchange for the items, police documents before Wollongong Local Court said.
The company subsequently contacted police.
The following day Buddle was seen by police at a property in West Street, Wollongong.
When questioned why he was there, Buddle allegedly told officers he had been hired to retrieve scrap metal from the site.
However subsequent police inquires allegedly found the property was a deceased estate and Buddle did not have permission to be there.
Officers searched Buddle and his co-accused, who was waiting in a car at the front of the property, allegedly finding them in possession of cannabis and heroin.
Both were arrested and taken back to Wollongong Police Station.
Buddle spent the night behind bars and faced court on Saturday.
He was eventually released on strict bail, which included a condition that he not be absent from his home between the hours of 6pm and 8am.
The female was released on police bail and will face court next month.
Police will claim when the woman was interviewed she made admissions to stealing the vases.
‘‘Brett and me drove to the place [cemetery] together and we both took the brass things and put them in my care and I drove us back to Unanderra,’’ she allegedly told police.
Buddle will reappear in court on September 17.