By danny restivo
A man accused of stealing and scrapping a $36,000 brass statue for $25.50 appeared in municipal court Wednesday.
Richard R. Couturiaux, 30, waived his right to a preliminary hearing before Judge Jeffrey D. Adler bound his case over to Trumbull County Common Pleas Court for further proceedings.
Couturiaux is facing a fifth-degree felony charge of receiving stolen property and a first-degree misdemeanor theft charge. If convicted of both charges, he could face up 18 months in jail and a $3,500 fine.
Police said he stole a 4-foot brass statue of a soldier from Mahoning Valley Memorial Park in Youngstown. Couturiaux then tried to scrap it for cash at the Girard Recycling Center, a police report said.
According to Ohio law, if the value of the property involved is $1,000 or more, receiving stolen property is a felony of the fifth degree.
The cemetery on Youngstown-Hubbard Road contains the final resting place of those who once defended the country. The bronze statue stood at the front of the cemetery the past four decades. The vandalism came to light when the widow of a veteran arrived with hopes of planting Easter flowers on the grave of her husband.
Park managers notified Youngstown police of the missing statue, who found that parts of the statue were scrapped at the Girard recycling center then notified Girard police.
Girard police said the recycling center produced seven pieces of the statue, including a rifle and a hand. Workers also produced a receipt for the metal that showed Couturiaux received $25.50 for the metal. Girard police collected the brass before photographing it and returning it to park managers.
Couturiaux was arrested Monday in Brookfield where police said he was residing. He was then brought to court for his initial appearance the same day.
The judge set Couturiaux’s bond at $82,500 for the charges of receiving stolen property and theft. He did not post bond and is in the Trumbull County Jail.
Couturiaux is facing another charge stemming from a breaking and entering in May 2012, court records show. His case was bound over to the Trumbull County Common pleas court in June and his still pending. Records also show that Couturiaux pled guilty to misdemeanor theft in 2010 and criminal damaging in 2009.