Man arrested 'for digging up GRAVE fans believed belonged to Kobe Bryant and daughter Gigi'
A DISTURBED man was arrested for allegedly digging up a grave fans mistakenly believed belonged to Kobe Bryant and 13-year-old daughter Gigi, The Sun can exclusively reveal.
The NBA star and his second-eldest child, who died along with seven others in a tragic helicopter accident in Los Angeles on January 26, were buried side-by-side at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona Del Mar after a private family ceremony.
Fans believed a burial plot decorated in yellow and purple flowers, the colors of the LA Lakers, belonged to Kobe and Gigi and scores of devastated well-wishers flocked to the site to pay tribute to the sporting idol.
But the park confirmed to The Sun that this was the wrong grave and revealed father and daughter were laid to rest in an unmarked plot.
And in a disturbing development police confirmed yesterday that a 28-year-old man was arrested at 12.39pm on Sunday, March 15 after being caught digging at the gated site many fans had taken photographs of.
Heather Rangel, press information officer for the Newport Beach Police Departmentsaid the man “complied immediately” and was taken to the local police station before being booked into Orange County Jail and charged with vandalism. He has since been released and is awaiting trial.
The vandal allegedly came prepared wearing knee pads and climbed over a 4-foot wall surrounding the site which has its own locked gate.
He then peeled back the grass and used tools to dig deep into the ground.
It is not known whether he reached any of the coffins underneath, but staff at Pacific View immediately phoned 911 and waited with the man until officers arrived.
The park was unavailable for comment when approached by The Sun.
The plot, which is said to belong to someone who was buried in November, is surrounded by balloons and flower pinwheels, with heart rosaries placed on either side.
“We can confirm that is not Kobe and Gianna’s resting place,” Ashley Bunton of Service Corporation International, which owns the cemetery, previously said.
“We cannot divulge any additional details as to where they are. But we can tell you that is not the correct location.”
Situated at the top of the cemetery, the grave looks down on Newport Coast towards the home where Kobe and widow Vanessa, 37, lived with their children.
A private funeral was held for the late basketball star, 41, and his daughter at the Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park in LA on February 7, according to sources.
It was attended by Vanessa and the couple's three daughters Natalia Diamante, 17, Bianka Bella, 3, and Capri Kobe, 8 months, along with family who were flown in privately from Las Vegas for the afternoon.
A source with knowledge of the event told ET: “Vanessa and the family wanted a private service to mourn their loss.
"The ceremony was extremely hard for everyone as it's still hard for them to grasp they lost two beautiful souls."
Vanessa posted a sweet video of Kobe talking about coaching Gianna in a tribute two months after the helicopter crash that took their lives.
In the heartwarming video clip shared to Vanessa's Instagram on Thursday, the NBA legend said: “She started out playing soccer, which is one of my favorite sports as well.
“But then, when she asked about learning the game of basketball, I started teaching her piece by piece, and she started enjoying it and loving it and now she plays every day.”
Kobe, Gianna, and seven others were traveling to a basketball training session on a private helicopter when it crashed over Calabasas – killing all nine on board.
Vanessa is currently suing the helicopter company for wrongful death.
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