Health officials told a 78-year-old cemetery caretaker to clean up trash around a historic burial ground in New Jersey − and he did, but he did it by dumping it into grave sites.
Eric Rickes was arrested Thursday for improperly disposing garbage and other debris into graves at the centuries-old Rahway Cemetery, according to Rahway police.
Police say they obtained a search warrant for the cemetery after receiving information about Rickes' behavior and found evidence on Wednesday.
"Our agency took great care to investigate this matter fully because everyone should be able to rest with dignity," police said in a statement.
Rickes was charged with the desecration of a place of burial.
The Rahway Cemetery, also known as First Presbyterian Cemetery, was established in 1724 and is the final resting place for historic figures such as Abraham Clark, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and numerous soldiers from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, police said.