NEW WINDSOR, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Dozens and dozens of headstones have been toppled in a cemetery in the northern suburbs.
The disturbing vandalism is upsetting the families of loved ones buried there, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reports.
“These is big stones they knocked down. It had to be groups of people,” cemetery superintendent Harry Coolidge said. “They weigh thousands of pounds, some of them.”
Coolidge found at least 68 headstones and 15 statues knocked down and broken when he came back to work Monday after the weekend.
“This is sacred right here. I get upset. My son…” he said.
For Coolidge, this is personal. His son’s grave was among those vandalized.
“All this stuff was just thrown in the middle of the road, when I came around the corner, and I said, I can’t believe somebody would do this,” Coolidge said.
He’s been circling the cemetery all day, trying to keep track of whose site was disturbed and how to get in touch with their families.
“I don’t know how they could do something like this,” Newburgh resident Rick Parisi, who was visiting the cemetery, said.
The headstones are too heavy for Coolidge to pick up alone, so cleanup and repairs will have to start Tuesday.
“You gotta take the machine and make sure you don’t damage the stone when you pick them up,” Coolidge said.
Getting the cemetery back to normal could take days or weeks. Coolidge says right now, they’re not even sure exactly how much damage has been done.
“They could be cracked. You don’t know ’til you pick them up,” Coolidge said. “Who would do this? Not a normal person.”
The superintendent says he can no longer allow anyone to visit graves past closing and is looking to install surveillance cameras around the front gates.