MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Two human heads were stolen from Footscray General Cemetery in days. Police said they found items, including a crucifix, letters to satan, and candles.
Police were called to Footscray General Cemetery, in the city’s west, on Tuesday morning to report a grave had been disturbed for the second time in a matter of days.
Detectives found the plaque and plasterboard inside a mausoleum had been removed and partial human remains had been stolen, mirroring an earlier incident last week.
A number of items were left at the sites, including a crucifix, candles, and letters to satan, with investigators now probing whether the crime is connected to devil worship.
Police say the offenders used several tools to force entry into the graves.
‘The human remains were the primary focus of the offender and that is what we are focusing on,’ Detective Acting Inspector Ben Jarman told 7NEWS.
The first incident took place at the Geelong Road cemetery sometime between 7.30 pm last Thursday and 6.15 am the following morning.
Another part of the cemetery was then raided again this week between 6 pm on Monday and 10 am on Tuesday.
A third mausoleum was broken into late last week but was already empty, leaving the offenders with nothing to steal.
Police believe the targets are being selected at random and say the victims are not connected.
The bizarre case has left seasoned experts baffled, with acting Inspector Jarman saying he had never seen a crime like this.
‘It is a very rare event,’ he told 3AW on Wednesday morning.’
Renowned criminologist Xanthe Mallett said she had never come across satanic cult activity in Australia.
‘It is interesting, some of the symbols that have been left around these mausoleums appear to be satanic in nature,’ Dr. Mallett said.
‘I haven’t seen a precedent where graves have been robbed for anything other than past times – grave robbing used to be when bodies were being taken and provided for anatomical reasons – but we’re talking hundreds of years ago.’
The distressed families of the victims have reported there were no goods of value other than personal items inside the mausoleums.
Detectives established crime scenes at both incidents and are investigating whether they are linked.
Police have also been working closely with site managers who are increasing their security presence on site.
Detectives have installed a series of CCTV cameras in the cemetery following the shocking discovery.
The cameras have been placed along roads in the facility as enforcement look to ensure there aren’t further parts taken and to prevent future incidents.
The removal of body parts from a grave carry a maximum penalty of five years behind bars.
Investigators are urging anyone who may have witnessed suspicious activity in the area over the last week to come forward to police.