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A group of local veterans looked on as a man pleaded not guilty to charges of stealing the $36,000 grave marker of a veteran from a Youngstown cemetery.
Richard Couturiaux, 30, of Hubbard, pleaded not guilty to theft charges Thursday in front of Trumbull County Judge Ronald Rice. Judge Rice raised Couturiax’s bond from $82,000 to $250,000.
Couturiaux is charged with stealing a four-foot statue from the Mahoning Valley Memorial Park on Youngstown Hubbard Road in April. Police recovered parts of the statue from scrap yards in Girard and Warren.
Jim Campbell of American Legion Post 700 in Howland said a veteran’s grave is not to be disturbed.
“When we lay our eternal to rest, that is sacred and hollow ground and we expect to be preserved in that fashion,” said Campbell. “We are looking at the future of what the laws are today and what’s in the books and possibly trying to change those laws to make it a little harsher so we have a deterrent.
An arrest warrant has been issued for the second suspect in the case. Michael Cryster, 27, of Masury, did not show up for Thursday’s arraignment.