MOUNT VERNON — Law enforcement is asking for the public’s help in finding out who vandalized Moundview Cemetery last weekend, leaving 35 headstones and monuments in varying states of damage.
Around three to four headstones/monuments were broken due to being taller, older, softer stones, Assistant Director of Public Works John Albert said.
Albert visited the cemetery Monday to assess any possible tree damage caused by the high winds over the weekend. Instead of snapped tree branches, he saw several headstones toppled.
At first he thought it was caused by wind damage, but there were too many damaged for that to be the case.
“The wind wouldn’t blow them over,” Albert said. “I then realized they’d been pushed over.”
Albert came back later Monday evening and saw the same thing: more stones pushed over.
“My staff went out with the equipment and picked up the (headstones) except for the ones that were broken,” Albert said.
A monument company is coming to repair the stones that were damaged, Albert said. A cost estimate won’t be available until repairs are finished.
The cemetery hasn’t had these issues recently, Albert said. He’s been a cemetery employee for seven years.
“I talked to the old equipment operator,” he said. “He said it happened one or two times in his 30-year career. This was a pretty bad hit here.”
The cemetery is closed from dusk until dawn, Albert said.
The cemetery’s budget is self-funded, mostly funded by grave sales and burials. A small percentage of funds come from taxes. Damages like this cause a big hit for that balance sheet.
Despite the finances, Albert said he and his fellow employees take great pride in the cemetery.
“Keeping the cemetery beautiful, well maintained … I’m guessing there’s roughly six to seven acres here we take care of, and to have somebody come in and vandalize it, not have any thought or regard to those buried here,” he said.
“Can’t even rest in peace at the cemetery.”
Moundview isn’t the only place in Mount Vernon that has suffered vandalism recently. Harmony Playground at Memorial Park was also vandalized by the handicap accessible swing being set on fire.
Mount Vernon Police Department is asking for the public’s help in finding the suspect. A security footage image has been posted on the city’s Facebook page.