Police target suspect in Oakwood Cemetery theft
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An East Austin cemetery is drying up after a thief damaged the sprinkler system.
Austin police are looking for 50-year-old Brendan Cantwell Ryan. Those familiar with the cemetery say Ryan targeted the brass fittings of the sprinkler system. Police charged Ryan with selling the stolen parts in San Antonio.
The city could not afford to make the necessary repairs to the sprinkler system and capped the damaged parts, leaving the cemetery without irrigation.
Dale Flatt, a volunteer from Save Austin's Cemeteries, said Ryan has hit the cemetery before.
"They found the stuff in San Antonio where it was salvaged. When they pulled up the records--anytime you sell metals you have to give your driver’s license--this guy's driver’s license was right there and so they tied him to the crime. This is the same guy who came back in 2005 and stole the majority of our historic fencing," he said.
Austin police confirm Flatt's claims.
According to Flatt, the lack of irrigation is damaging the cemetery's trees and causing the ground to shift. The city is trying to keep about 50 trees alive by watering them with hoses.
Anyone with information on Ryan's whereabouts is asked to call CrimeStoppers or the Austin Police at (512) 472-TIPS (8477).