WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (KDVR) — Someone broke into a mausoleum at a cemetery just outside of Wheat Ridge, taking body parts from a crypt. Investigators say it’s not the first time it’s happened, and those responsible could face felonies.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office told FOX31 someone pried open the crypt and removed body parts from a casket.

“The face plate to the mausoleum had been broken up and shattered on the ground,” said Jacki Kelley with the sheriff’s office.

An employee found the damage to the crypt early Wednesday morning at the Crown Hill Cemetery near 29th Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard.

“It appears as though the crypt has been pried on and the casket had been pulled out some,” Kelley said.

Even more disturbing, investigators said the suspect disturbed the person resting inside.

“There are body parts that missing from inside that casket,” Kelley said.

JCSO is working on identifying next of kin. The damage was limited to one of the three crypts in the mausoleum.

“The two others on each side were undisturbed,” Kelley said.

Wood covers the entrance to a crypt in an outdoor mausoleum
Wood covers part of a mausoleum targeted by a thief in Wheat Ridge. (Credit: Rogelio Mares, KDVR)

Grave robbery is ‘really, really rare’

As shocking as this crime is, grave robbing has happened in Jefferson County before.

“This isn’t the first time this has happened to us, but it’s really, really rare,” Kelley said.

Investigators are hoping security video from the cemetery or nearby businesses will give them a clue to who committed this crime.

Suspects face a list of charges if caught.

“It is felony criminal mischief because of the overwhelming damage that was done to that site. Third-degree burglary. And then based on what we hopefully can learn from family members — we don’t know what else was in that casket, if there were items of other value — so we may have theft charges as well.”

The company that manages the cemetery told FOX31 it is aware of the situation.

Outside of any items that may have been stolen from the corpse, investigators added the damage to the crypt alone ranges between $25,000 and $30,000.