Cemetery theft: Close-up look at mausoleums damaged at historic Woodmere Cemetery

In the early 1900s, Detroit was known for its 5-cent cigars.

And no one produced as many quality 5-cent cigars as Oscar Rosenberger and his San Telmo Cigar Company, which employed 1,500 Detroiters.

When he died in 1918, some of his fortune was spent on a beautiful mausoleum with copper double doors and stained glass windows in the historic Woodmere Cemetery in southwest Detroit.

After 95 years of peace, the doors and stained glass window were stolen, leaving the mausoleum open to the elements early last month.

Thieves stole mausoleum doors, gates, stained glass windows, marble and other contents. About 12 mausoleum were ransacked. We first reported it last month.

About a year ago, vandals toppled 110 heads stones, smashed statues and beheaded ornate angels at the 240-acre cemetery.

Woodmere is one of the oldest cemeteries in the city, opening in 1867. It’s home to many notable graves. It also is the resting place of Civil War soldiers who were moved to the cemetery after Fort Wayne was razed.

List of notable people buried at Woodmere Cemetery.


Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.