Family slapped with $3,000 bill after vandals dig up grave - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Family slapped with $3,000 bill after vandals dig up grandmother's grave

A local family called 12 On Your Side for help. Their grandmother's grave was vandalized, but THEY are the ones slapped with a $3,000 cleanup bill. 

"Just help us," said Sylvia Harrison. "That's all I'm asking for."

Police say it appears vandals were trying to gain entry to Ida Mae Perry's casket on Easter Sunday. The family says the crooks targeted a loving grandmother who's husband founded a Virginia church. 

The family has now been slapped with a $3,000 bill for the new vault and interment work.

"And we just don't have that kind of cash," said Harrison.

We took the invoice straight to the funeral home director, James Gay. He claims there was a mistake. As far as he's concerned the family paid in full. He says the vault company is owed money.

"This bill they have now?" we asked. "You are saying they should disregard it?"
"Just disregard it until they hear back from Virginia Burial Supply...the vault company," said Gay. "That's what I would do."

We contacted Timothy Banks with Virginia Burial Supply.

"Do you think this family should have to pay you for an emergency service based upon what criminals did?" we asked.

"No," replied Banks. "I don't think the family should pay for it. We sent an invoice to the town of Waverly and one to the family. We will grant all the time needed to resolve this issue. We are not pressuring anyone."

The town claims, while the case is appalling, it is not liable because the act was not "foreseeable." 

"At least offer to help to do something," cried Harrison.

The family notes there was a rumor that Mrs. Ida Perry was buried with $500 in her hand. We are told it was more like $5.

"That was ridiculous," said Perry's son about the crime. "All that work for nothing. They did not accomplish anything."

This is still an active police case. Our cameras were rolling as officers collected more evidence at the cemetery Wednesday evening. 

"I have sympathy for the family," said Mayor Walter Mason in a statement. "I knew Mother Perry very well. Come down to the town hall, and the clerk will put them on the agenda to speak to the town council on Tuesday at 7:30."

Police opened the casket to determine no items were stolen. They say felony charges are likely. The family is offering a $500 reward for more information. If you know anything about this crime call State Police at 757-424-6800.

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