BARTOW (FOX 13) - Bartow police are looking for whoever vandalized the grave of a World War II veteran - removing clothing and other items from the buried remains.
“I am a religious man myself, and messing with a grave site is one of the worst things you can do,” Deputy Chief Bryan Dorman told FOX 13.
For nearly 20 years, the grave was the final resting place of Willie Graham, a longtime Polk County math teacher, and a veteran.
“This is a World War II veteran,” said Dorman. “Not only his life should be respected, his grave site should be respected.”
Family members were disappointed to hear Graham's grave was disturbed, but they were shocked at some of the details.
Graham’s clothes were removed from his remains; his pants left on the ground next to the site.
“I couldn’t believe that someone would do something like that,“ said Otto Brown, a relative.
Investigators suspect that several people may be involved because, given the weight of the vault cover, it would be nearly impossible for just one person to move it.
Detectives say the intruders may have been looking for jewelry or valuables, but relatives say Graham was not buried with any.
Police say if they find the culprits, they could be charged with felonies.