EAST FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (WPIX)—A criminal investigation was underway at St. Charles Cemetery in East Farmingdale Tuesday, after three mausoleums were broken into overnight, Suffolk County police said.
The body of an 87-year-old woman inside a casket that was housed in one of the mausoleums was believed to be stolen, PIX 11 News has learned.
A preliminary investigation has determined that in addition to the theft, a number of human remains in the mausoleum were also desecrated, Suffolk County Police said.
According to detectives, the break-in happened between 6:30 p.m. Monday and 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at the cemetery located on Conklin Avenue.
Father Kieran Harrington, a member of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, confirmed the shocking break-in, saying "there were very serious disturbances."
The Diocese, which operates the cemetery, contacted family members to notify them on what happened.
Investigators, including First Squad Detectives were still on the scene Tuesday afternoon attempting to piece together the disturbing incident.
Although the cemetery remains open, a PIX 11 News photographer and reporter were asked to leave the vicinity.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio reached out to immediate family members to express his "profound sorrow and solidarity in this painful time." In addition, he is assuring them that the Diocese is fully cooperating with the police investigation.
Bishop DiMarzio further said, "Our faith testifies to the dignity and sanctity of the human person. For this reason we reverence the human body in life and even in death. It is incomprehensible that anyone would violate the sacred resting place of those that have passed from this world to eternal life."
Anyone with information on the incident is urged to contact the First Squad at 631-854-8152 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.
ROB HOELL CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT.