A man accused of stealing brass fixtures from a Bronx cemetery pleaded guilty on Monday. The man, Louis Peduto, 56, admitted to taking items — a few doorknobs and at least one vent cover – found in a bag when he was caught by security guards Feb. 18, the Bronx district attorney’s office said.
In a deal reached with prosecutors, Mr. Peduto will enter a one- to two-year residential drug-treatment program. If he completes the program, the felony grand larceny charge he pleaded guilty to will be reduced to a misdemeanor. If Mr. Peduto does not complete the program, he will face jail time.
Early articles about the thefts placed the value of goods the cemetery reported stolen at $189,000, but prosecutors said they were able to link Mr. Peduto only to the objects found in the bag. The crime he pleaded guilty to, fourth-degree grand larceny, covers theft of property valued between $1,000 and $3,000.
The district attorney’s office said that Mr. Peduto confessed to using drugs since age 13 and struggling with addiction to cocaine and heroin, and that he has a history of drug-related misdemeanor arrests.
“The defendant has no prior felony convictions and a long history of addiction,” Steven Reed, a spokesman for the district attorney, said in a statement. “It was apparent that the addiction is what motivated his nonviolent criminal activity.”
Mr. Peduto’s lawyer, Cynthia Pong, did not respond to a call seeking comment.
Mr. Peduto was also accused by a City Room reader of having taken the tulip-shape solar-powered light he is seen holding in a photo released by the police from the grave of her son. In an interview last month at Rikers Island, Mr. Peduto denied the accusation.