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Vandals Desecrate More Than 50 Memorials, Monuments At Historic Brooklyn Cemetery

Cemetery Says Security Cams Caught One Possible Suspect; NYPD Investigating
Green-Wood cemetery vandalism. (credit: Green-Wood Cemetery)

Green-Wood cemetery vandalism. (credit: Green-Wood Cemetery)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Workers at a historic Brooklyn cemetery discovered a “senseless act of vandalism” on its grounds Tuesday and now police are investigating.

Officials at the Green-Wood Cemetery told CBS 2 that when members of its staff went out to mow lawns, trim grass and weed gardens on Tuesday, they saw more than 50 memorials and monuments had been desecrated.

It is the first case of vandalism at the cemetery, which was founded in 1838, in 30 years. The oldest memorial that was vandalized belongs to a general that dates back to the War of 1812, cemetery officials said.

1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer Reports

The vandalism occurred despite a high cast iron fence that surrounds the 479 acres of the cemetery, which also has an around-the-clock car patrol of the grounds and mounted video cameras.

An arch was toppled and many pieces shattered as they hit the ground. Urns were cracked and pushed off their bases. Four marble crosses were also toppled and three of them broke into pieces, according to the cemetery.

And that’s not all.

Two memorial porcelain photographs of the deceased were scratched repeatedly while another was smashed with a rock. Three gravestones were smeared with mud and a trash receptacle was rolled down a hill.

green wood cemetery 3 Vandals Desecrate More Than 50 Memorials, Monuments At Historic Brooklyn Cemetery

(credit: Green-Wood Cemetery)

Two stop signs were folded in half, and a cart was pushed up an embankment in an apparent effort to turn it over, cemetery officials said.

Cemetery officials said one of its security cameras did capture someone who they said was likely involved in the vandalism. The tape was turned over to authorities from the Hate Crimes Squad.

The cemetery, which has been contacting families about the vandalism, said while it or the Green-Wood Historic Fund doesn’t have a legal obligation to repair the damage, it will be repairing each of them.

green wood cemetery 2 Vandals Desecrate More Than 50 Memorials, Monuments At Historic Brooklyn Cemetery

(credit: Green-Wood Cemetery)

The president of the cemetery released a statement Thursday saying he was “shocked and deeply saddened by what happened.”

“Most of the damaged monuments date back to the 1800s. Many cannot be replaced.  We estimate the cost of repair to be upwards of $100,000,” Richard J. Moylan said.

The cemetery is also asking anyone who would be interested in making a contribution to help pay for restorations to do so by clicking here.

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