Woman accused of desecrating graves at Seffner cemetery

- A woman was arrested for stealing items from grave sites at a Seffner cemetery, and damaging some in the process.

Hillborough County deputies arrested 35-year-old Channon Marie Clarkson. Detectives said Clarkson entered the Unity African Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery at 1013 Dr. King Boulevard West around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. 

They said a church employee spotted her pulling two headstones from the ground and removed engraved templates from several grave sites. When deputies found her, they found other items stolen from other grave sites, including angels figures and flower holders. 

The church has existed for nearly 130 years, according to the pastor. The total amount of damage is at least $5,000, deputies say.

It was determined that it was not a hate crime, but detectives believe Clarkson suffers from a mental illness. She is also described as a transient. Clarkson was arrested and faces charges of disfiguring a tomb and grand theft. 

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