Connecticut Man Pleads Guilty to Robbing Graves

A man accused of breaking into caskets and mausoleums to rob the dead of jewelry and gold teeth at a cemetery has pleaded guilty to numerous charges.

Joseph J. Vecchiarelli, 26, pleaded guilty Tuesday to interference with a cemetery or burial ground, possession and sale of narcotics and other charges.

State's Attorney John Connelly said Vecchiarelli, of Waterbury, "molested the bodies looking for jewelry" and threw five bodies, including that of an infant, onto a mausoleum floor.

"He found a ring on one body and took that ring. He pulled bodies apart and looked through the skulls for gold teeth, and he put them in his pocket," the prosecutor said.

The cemetery's caretaker alerted Waterbury police in April that three mausoleums had been smashed open. A ring Vecchiarelli sold to a pawn shop was recovered, and police said two sets of gold dentures were found at an apartment where Vecchiarelli was staying.

Prosecutors are recommending a 20-year sentence, suspended after 10 years served, and five years' probation. Sentencing is set for Nov. 16.