A serial grave robber was finally caught after an incensed mom came up with the perfect plan to catch him. The thief, Andrew Balshaw, will spend the next year in jail.
Joan Holland’s son has been buried at St. Michael’s Churchyard in Manchester, England since he was fatally stabbed in 2007. Holland visits her son’s grave at least once a week and often leaves a gift behind. When her gifts started repeatedly disappearing, Holland came up with a clever plan to catch the culprit.
Holland’s son Martin bought a GPS tracker and sewed it into a teddy bear. The GPS device was complete with a messaging system that would alert the Holland’s if the bear was being moved.
Just days after being placed at the gravesite, the family was notified that the stuffed animal was on the move. They tracked the bear to an apartment building, and called police once they were outside. Police entered Balshaw’s apartment and found both the bear and numerous other trinkets stolen from the gravesite in recent months. He’d robbed plenty of other graves, too.
“There were little ornaments, flowers, and a wreath from someone else’s grave in his bin,” Holland told the Mirror. “Apparently he’d told his girlfriend he’d got it from the shops.”
Balshaw initially told police he bought the teddy bear for his girlfriend. After further questioning, he pleaded guilty to theft.
During his sentencing hearing, the presiding judge slammed Balshaw’s crime as “heartless and callous.”
“The public would be outraged if I did not pass a sentence of imprisonment on you,” the judge said. “There is no doubt that this family have suffered severely by what you have done. There is nothing I can say in passing sentence on you that is likely to assuage the grief or upset of the victims.”
H/T: IJ Review