Highland urn theft suspect arrested

HIGHLAND – Sheriff’s deputies have arrested a man suspected of burglarizing a home on Sunday and stealing an urn that contained the ashes of a man’s wife.

As of Thursday, the partial remains of the victim’s wife have not been recovered.

On Tuesday, two days after the burglary, Joseph Manning Slater, 24, was arrested by deputies who were pursuing leads in the case, according to a statement by San Bernardino County Sheriff’s officials.

County Sheriff’s spokesperson Jodi Miller said investigators are still seeking to recover stolen jewelry, jewelry boxes, TV and a computer after the Sunday burglary, but they were able to locate a four-inch tall mahogany box urn that contained the remains of his wife.

Her funeral is scheduled for Saturday, said Miller.

“There needs to be some clarification on what was stolen,” said Miller, correcting early reports that ashes from both the victim’s wife and son were stolen.

The victim’s son is currently serving in the military overseas, said Miller, “and the victim (Arthur Pauly) was saving some of the ashes for him. That’s what hasn’t been recovered yet.”

While a four-inch mahogany box containing most of Mrs. Pauly’s ashes has been recovered, deputies are still seeking a small velvet bag that contains “a couple of tablespoons of Mrs. Pauly’s ashes,” said Miller.

It was originally located next to the mahogany box, she said. “That has yet to turn up.”

Slater broke into a home on the 27000 block of Messina St. on Sunday night and took, among other items, a box that contained the urn with ashes from the victim’s wife.

One day after the burglary, a neighbor who had spotted Slater’s crime in progress, was able to get possession of the urn containing the wife’s ashes, said deputies. They were able to identify Slater as a suspect because of the neighbor.

“Through that,” said Miller, “they discovered Joseph Slater had been in possession of the urn before it was obtained by the citizen.”

According to deputies, the neighbor confronted Slater, punched him and retrieved the box containing the wife’s ashes. But the other set of remains has not been recovered, said deputies.

Slater was arrested at 4:46 p.m. and booked into West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, charged with possession of stolen property.

Slater, who has a 2009 burglary conviction according to court records, is being held on suspicions of burglary on a $25,000 bail, according to a sheriff’s news release. He was scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.

Read more:

Mercury News, Suspect in Highland urn theft arrested

LA Times mobile, Highland man allegedly steals neighbor’s ashes


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