An Old Orchard Beach woman has been arrested on charges that she stole numerous Christmas wreaths and arrangements from grave sites at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Saco.

Pamela Golarz, 56, of 29 Staples St., turned herself in to Saco police Friday following searches Monday and Wednesday at three of the properties she owns in Old Orchard Beach, including her home address. She had apparently used the stolen wreaths and arrangements to decorate her own property, and a total of 11 items were recovered, police said.

“Everybody thought they were being sold on craigslist,” said Saco Deputy Chief Jeffrey Holland. The appearance of the wreaths, coupled with a good-quality image taken of the thief by a hidden camera, were enough for an Old Orchard Beach police officer to become suspicious, he said.

Saco police began investigating the thefts on Dec. 4 after a family member of someone buried in the cemetery reported that a homemade floral arrangement that had been on the grave’s headstone had been stolen. Police discovered that more thefts had taken place in late November and early December. Overall, about 15 items were taken, police said.

The family member used a hidden camera to capture a video of a woman removing wreaths from a grave last week. The video showed a black Ford Explorer pull up next to a grave decorated with a wreath, and a woman with dark hair emerge to take the arrangement off the headstone and bring it back to her vehicle, Holland said in a written statement.

Most of the wreaths were taken from stones near the mausoleum, which is close to Beach Street in a relatively open area.

“Periodically, cemeteries have those type of thefts but never on this scale,” Holland said.

Paul Tate, the cemetery superintendent, said earlier this week that people paid $25 for wreaths that are placed on headstones by cemetery employees. They placed 400 wreaths on Dec. 2 and 3, and soon after began receiving calls questioning why some were missing.

“After the fifth phone call, we (knew) something was wrong,” said Joan Bergeron, the Laurel Hill secretary who fielded dozens of calls this week.

Joannie Allison, who lives in Massachusetts, said her younger sister put the camera in the cemetery to try to catch the person who was taking arrangements off their parents’ headstone. Allison said her sister recently made an elaborate evergreen spray and was devastated when it was stolen almost immediately after it was placed on the headstone.

The video was posted on the police department’s Facebook page and shared with local media, drawing harsh comments from people decrying the act and questioning what kind of person would steal wreaths meant to memorialize the dead. The video also generated tips on who the woman might be, leading Old Orchard Beach police Officer Jami Ladakakos to identify Golarz as a possible suspect.

On Monday, the departments executed a search warrant at two addresses in Old Orchard Beach – 9 Washington Ave. and 28 Staples St. – where they recovered two large Christmas arrangements that had previously been on grave headstones, Holland said. Both are three-unit buildings owned by Golarz.

On Wednesday, they executed additional search warrants at 9 Washington Ave., 29 Staples St. and another at 28 Staples St., recovering nine wreaths.

Golarz faces misdemeanor charges of theft, receiving stolen property and falsifying physical evidence. The third charge, a Class D offense, is the most serious, punishable by up to a year in jail. The value of the stolen wreaths and arrangements was estimated to be about $800, police said.

Golarz was released on $150 bail and is scheduled to appear in Biddeford District Court on Jan. 28 to face the charges.

Holland said the department hopes to return the wreaths to the cemetery association to be put back on the headstones, but that decision hasn’t been made yet because they also are evidence in a crime.