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Published: Wednesday, 6/13/2007

Cemetery flagpole found in North Toledo scrapyard

A surveillance video from R&M Recycling Inc. shows a pickup truck with the missing pole. A surveillance video from R&M Recycling Inc. shows a pickup truck with the missing pole.

An Ohio driver's license and a video of a pickup with most of a 35-foot-tall flagpole sticking out the back helped police snag a man in the theft of the pole from a North Toledo cemetery.

James W. Nelson, 45, of 3571 Stickney Ave., turned himself in on a felony vandalism warrant yesterday afternoon at police headquarters downtown. He was booked into the Lucas County jail and is scheduled to be arraigned today in Toledo Municipal Court.

He is accused of cutting down the pole and damaging two monuments and the lock to the gate of Mount Carmel Cemetery, Manhattan Boulevard and Lagrange Street, on Saturday.

Police said he then drove his 1978 pickup to R&M Recycling Inc., 4103 Lagrange, and received $104.40 for the pole, which was in two pieces in the bed of the truck. At least two people were in the bed of the pickup.

Investigators are expected to issue arrest warrants today for three other people involved in the crime.

Nelson, a registered sexual predator, was required to show his driver's license at the business, which had video of the pickup. The crime was reported Monday and later that day Officers Patricia Gomez and Greg Szymanski spotted the pole through the front gate of the business.

The business gave police Nelson's information and the video, and police determined Nelson matched as the owner of the pickup.

A police report stated the value to repair or replace the damaged items was unknown.

Police said another item believed to be taken recently for scrap is still missing. A bronze plaque with "Jamie Farr Park" and Mr. Farr's face was taken between June 3 and 4 from the park, 2000 North Summit St.

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