Health officials told a 78-year-old cemetery caretaker to clean up trash around a historic burial ground in New Jersey − and he did, but he did it by dumping it into grave sites.
Eric Rickes was arrested Thursday for improperly disposing garbage and other debris into graves at the centuries-old Rahway Cemetery, according to Rahway police.
Police say they obtained a search warrant for the cemetery after receiving information about Rickes' behavior and found evidence on Wednesday.
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"Our agency took great care to investigate this matter fully because everyone should be able to rest with dignity," police said in a statement.
Rickes was charged with the desecration of a place of burial.
The Rahway Cemetery, also known as First Presbyterian Cemetery, was established in 1724 and is the final resting place for historic figures such as Abraham Clark, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and numerous soldiers from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, police said.