A Letcher County man who allegedly sold 12 stolen military markers to a scrap metal dealer in Isom surrendered to police Tuesday night.
Harley Jack Slone, 30, of Isom, was charged with violating graves and 12 counts of receiving stolen property — all felony charges — in arrest warrants obtained last week by the Letcher County’s Sheriff ’s Department.
Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb said the bronze markers Slone is accused of taking were stolen from the Horse Mill Point Cemetery in Jeremiah, the Isom Cemetery and the Cornett Family Cemetery in Blackey.
Rev. Elwood Cornett said he had stopped by the Cornett cemetery to see if the grass needed mowing when he noticed that five military markers were missing from gravesites. Three of the markers were from his brothers’ gravesites and two were from his cousins’ gravesites. Cornett notified police of the thefts on September 4.
“That is real serious when people start stealing veterans’ grave markers,” said Cornett.
On Sept. 5, an anonymous caller told Webb that the markers could be found at Mitchell Wright’s recycling business in Isom. Webb said an employee at Wright’s business told Webb that the markers were included in a load of scrap sold by Slone, but that workers didn’t notice them until after they began sorting the metal pieces.
Names on 11 of the markers are Denver Adams, Watson Adams, Burnette Breeding, Cleo Cornett, Emil Cornett, James Clell Cornett, Lester Gibson, Estil Hogg, John R. Pigman, Mildred Adams Stamper and James R. Smith. A marker that included the last name Ison had been cut into pieces.
Webb said relatives of the veterans can contact the sheriff ’s department at 633-2293 to arrange to have the markers returned replaced if they were damaged.
Webb said several markers still at the Isom Cemetery have been damaged by someone trying to pry them from their base.
Each bronze marker weighs 22 pounds and was provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.