LINCOLN, Neb. – A dead man's storage locker yielded dozens of tombstones, a macabre collection that police believe represents "a lifetime of stealing."
Some of the 47 gravestones date to the late 1800s; others are relatively recent. Police say they probably came from different cemeteries at different times.
The markers were found by the family of a Lincoln man who died last summer, but it wasn't until Thursday that police matched the first one to a grave.
Police Chief Tom Casady found the mother named on a stone that said only: "Infant son of Charles & Janice Schmidt 1965."
Janice Schmidt of Clatonia, 25 miles south of Lincoln, said she and her husband had always thought of their stillborn baby as Michael Shawn Schmidt, so in 2000 they put in a new stone with the name.
She was shocked that the original gravestone had turned up in a storage unit.
"To think that it was stolen from wherever it was stolen from, you feel kind of hurt or violated," she said.
Casady said the tombstone collection "probably came from a lifetime of stealing headstones."
Seeking more families, investigators are checking death certificates and have also put photos of the gravestones on their Web site.