Hillsborough County
Chad Chronister, Sheriff
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    Release Number: 18-632

    • For Immediate Release:
    • Public Affairs Office of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
    • August 8, 2018
    • Contact Person:
    • Public Affairs Office : piocommandcenter@hcso.tampa.fl.us
    • 813/247-8060

    Woman Arrested For Desecrating Graves

    The church is still determining the total amount of damage, but it is expected to exceed $5,000.
    • Tuesday
    • August 7, 2018
    • Time: 4:30 PM
    • Unity African Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetary
    • 1013 Dr King Boulevard W
    • Seffner, FL


    Channon Marie Clarkson
    DOB: 07/19/1983


    A homeless woman was arrested for removing tomb stones and stealing from graves at a historic church in Seffner.

    Channon Marie Clarkson, 35, entered the Unity African Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery, 1013 Dr. King Boulevard West, around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. A church employee spotted Clarkson roaming the cemetery, then pulling two headstones up from the ground. Clarkson removed engraved templates from several grave sites as well. When deputies located her, they found several items in her purse that she removed from other grave stones, including angels and flower holders.


    After a discussion with the Pastor, church leadership and Clarkson, it was determined that this was not hate crime related. Clarkson, who is homeless, is believed to suffer from a mental illness.

    The church, which has been is Seffner for 126 years according to a pastor, is still determining the total amount of damage, but it is expected to exceed $5,000.

    Clarkson was arrested and charged with Removing, disfiguring destroying or injuring a tomb, in addition to a charge of Grand Theft in the Third Degree ($300-$5,000).
  • Sheriff Chad Chronister
    Sheriff Chad Chronister
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