Cemetery owners charged with theft

Christopher Dornblaser

Northern York County Regional Police say owners of Suburban Memorial Gardens in Dover Township took payment for grave markers and never put them in.

Theodore Martin, 52, and Arminda Martin, 45, who currently live in Ravenna, Ohio, are charged with three counts of theft by deception and receiving stolen property, documents state.

First occurrence: On Dec. 11, Karen Spadafora told police she purchased a grave marker on Aug. 26, for her deceased husband, James Phillips, from Suburban Memorial Gardens, 3875 Bull Road, police said. She was told it would be placed on the site in 12 weeks and gave the Martins a check for $3,770, which was cashed that day, documents state.

Fifteen weeks after she paid for the grave marker, she told police that it had not been installed, police said. Spadafora attempted to contact the cemetery on several occasions and was told the order was faxed to the makers of the markers, documents state.

More than 20 weeks after the order was placed, in January, the marker for her husband was still not on the site, documents state.

Police say Arminda Martin told officers completion date is dependent upon many variables.

Second occurrence:  On Jan. 13,  Dennis and Karen Lentz told officers they purchased a grave marker from Suburban Memorial Gardens on May 25, for their deceased daughter, Tracey, documents state. Police say they were told the grave marker would be placed in 12 weeks, and they gave the cemetery a check for $2,535. Police say the check was dated May 23 and was cashed on May 26.

Thirty-three weeks later, in January, there was still no grave marker for their daughter on the site.

Similar to Spadafora, the Lentzs attempted to contact the Martins, to no avail, documents state.

Third occurrence: On Jan. 14, Vickie Snyder told police she purchased a grave marker from the cemetery on Aug. 25 for her deceased family member, Thomas Snyder, documents state.

Like the others, she was told the marker would be installed in 12 weeks, and she wrote a check for $6,000, which was dated on Aug. 25 and cashed the next day, police said.

More than 20 weeks after the order was made, the marker was still not there.

Like the others, she attempted to call the Martins and was only told that the order had been faxed to the maker of the markers, documents state.

Late orders: On Jan. 14, the markers were still not on the site. Police say messages were left for the Martins, and Arminda Martin told police they had placed orders for the Lentzs and Spadafora.

Through investigation, police were able to find that they order the markers from Coldspring, a natural stone manufacturing company based in Cold Springs, Minnesota, where police were told the orders for Spadafora's husband and the Lentzs' daughter had been placed on Jan. 14, not when they were originally paid for, documents state. Police say an order was never placed for Snyder's marker.

Coldspring told police once the orders come in, it takes no more than 30 days to ship the memorial, and that there were no variables, police said.

Police say they believe there are more victims, and anyone who ordered grave markers from the cemetery should call police at (717) 292-3647.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at