SALEM — Cemetery signs confiscated by police from a downtown business last weekend were returned after it was determined they were rightfully owned.
Police were called to Pampelmousse, a gourmet food shop at the corner of Essex and Central streets, on Nov. 13 after a passerby recognized three Harmony Grove Cemetery signs on display inside the shop, Salem police Lt. John Burke said. Posts about the signs being found for sale were also widely circulated on social media.
The signs were brought to the store “by another party for consignment, so the store would sell them and give part of the proceeds,” Burke said. “The detective saw the three signs in the window, and they also mentioned they had sold I think three to four more before. We took possession of the signs in the interim, just to make sure things were above board.”
It turns out, they were. A call over to Harmony Grove helped clue police on what the signs were doing for sale downtown.
“They were in the process of replacing all the signs, and they gave (the old signs) to a local scrap collector,” Burke said. “The scrap collector gave it to a guy who brought it to the store.”
Of course, this was all known to Pampelmousse, which expressed frustration over the ordeal. Though they weren’t named on social media, “the whole thing was news to us when it went the other way,” said Nate Townsden, a manager at the shop.
Police have since returned the signs to the person who was consigning them, Townsden said.
“We knew from the get-go that there was nothing untoward going on,” he said. “The whole Facebook thing ... it’s annoying for everybody. It was completely unfounded and people take it as real.”