Grave robbers stripped at least 300 plots at a historic black cemetery outside Chicago, dumped many of the bodies and then resold the plots for a profit, officials said Thursday.

The years-long scheme was carried out by the cemetery's manager and three gravediggers who sold the "used" graves so they could pocket the fees rather than pass them along to the Arizona-based owners.

"This was not done in a very delicate way," Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart said at a press conference.

"They would excavate a grave, excavate the entire site and then they would proceed to dump the remains wherever they found a place to do it in the back of the cemetery."

They would also sometimes leave the remains in the grave and "pound them down and put someone else on top," Dart said.

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