Report: Man breaks tombstones, smears them with grease

Robert Dale Keith

Deputies say they arrested a Marion man for destroying tombstones at a local Baptist church.

Det. Billie Brown, of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office, charged Robert Dale Keith, 47, of Goose Creek Road, Marion, with one felony count of desecrating a gravesite.

On July 3, representatives of Liberty Freewill Baptist Church on U.S. 70 West in Marion reported someone caused $800 in damages to the graveyard. According to court documents, Keith “removed and destroyed crosses, vases, and flowers on gravesites, rubbed grease and oil on tombstones, and broke grave ornaments.”

Public Information Assistant Richelle Bailey, of the MCSO, said Keith drove his vehicle through the fence at the graveyard and vandalized the area sometime between June 20 and July 3.

Keith currently has pending charges for larceny, failure to appear, drug possession and speeding.

He is still in custody and his bond was set at $25,000. A probable cause hearing was set for Aug. 13.