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Corning, N.Y. —
A 27-year-old Corning man was arrested Monday on misdemeanor theft charges for allegedly stealing bronze veteran memorial markers from a local funeral home.
Giacamo F. Tallarida allegedly stole seven markers from the Haughey Funeral Home last month and sold them for scrap. Tallarida was a longtime employee of the funeral home.
Veteran memorial markers are placed at the gravesites of deceased veterans. They are typically engraved with the veteran’s service record.
The allegedly stolen markers were personalized and were ready to be placed at gravesites, according to police.
After allegedly stealing the markers, Tallarida sold the markers as scrap to Swarthout Recycling in Beaver Dams. After purchasing the markers, Swarthout employees contacted authorities, suspecting the markers were stolen.
All seven markers have been recovered.
Tallarida told The Leader he didn’t steal the markers.
“No, my God, no,” Tallarida said when asked if he stole the bronze. “It was just a misunderstanding.”
According to Tallarida, the markers were inside a garage at the funeral home that he was directed to clean out. Also, he said he did not keep the money he got for the markers, rather it was turned over to the funeral home.
Haughey Funeral Home owner Jack Haughey said Tallarida was often in charge of setting memorial markers at gravesites and would have known such markers were not to be scrapped.
“I don’t believe they were taken mistakenly,” Haughey said, adding that Tallarida’s employment was terminated following the incident.
Haughey said he was pleased all the markers were recovered.
“I’m very pleased we got them in the cemeteries before Memorial Day,” Haughey said.
Tallarida was arrested Monday morning by Painted Post-based New York State Police, which investigated the case.
Tallarida was released on an appearance ticket. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of a year in jail. Tallarida said he will fight the charges.