ELLSWORTH, Maine — An Orland man has been charged with theft after allegedly digging up and moving his deceased wife’s headstone.
Ellsworth police issued a summons to Patrick Bouchard, 82, on a charge of theft by unauthorized taking on Nov. 6.
According to Lt. Harold Page, Bouchard admitted to taking the headstone from Woodbine Cemetery in Ellsworth on Aug. 31 and placing it at a plot in Orland.
While bereaved spouses may feel ownership of their loved one’s graves, Page said headstones and other cemetery accoutrement are owned by whoever paid for them, regardless of whether the deceased is buried in a private or public lot.
Bouchard “confessed to taking it, but says he paid for it,” Page said Wednesday. “But the original complainant has paperwork saying he [the complainant] paid for it.”
Page would not name the complainant or the wife, whose headstone was taken. The lieutenant also said he didn’t know how an elderly man could remove a headstone by himself, but that no one else has been charged because Bouchard claims he acted alone.
While the gravesite was “quite tore up,” Page said, the wife’s remains were not removed and are still safely interred at Woodbine.
“She was cremated,” Page said.”[Bouchard] says the urn is still in the ground, and we know it is because her family checked and it’s still there.”
Bouchard has a Dec. 18 court date in Ellsworth District Court. Theft by unauthorized taking or transfer is a Class E crime, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.