Cemetery Vandalism Baffles Management

1 decade 11 months 4 days ago October 24, 2005 Oct 24, 2005 Monday, October 24 2005 Monday, October 24, 2005 9:44:18 AM CDT in News

24 stones in Bethlehem Cemetery were vandalized Saturday night.  Some of the smaller stones were broken off.  Some of the larger ones were somehow removed from their markers, ttoppled over, then stood straight up right next to their markers.  The cemetery's management is perplexed over the motive of whoever did this.

"First you wonder why or what pleasure," said cemetery president Harold Hombs. "They don't get any value out of it. They don't gain anything. But the randomness of it that some of the stones were knocked off of their bases and then set back up is puzzling."

Hombs came to work to find this and explains, "I have no idea why they took the trouble after knocking them off to set them back up."

But for Hombs this isn't just a job.

"This is the grave marker of my grandfather Hombs," he said.

His parents and more than a dozen of his other relatives also lie here.  Most of the graves in the cemetery are hundreds of years old.

"We don't know that it is pure vandalism because some of the things that was done," said caretaker John Burks. "If it was just vandalism they would have just trashed everything or whatever they chosen but when they erected some of the stones back up...it's puzzling."

Hombs doesn't understand who would want to disturb the dead.  "There is a certain sacredness about a cemetery. People have been laid to rest here for over one hundred years.  To just come in and vandalize for no purpose doesn't make sense to me."

The cemetery management is considering offering a reward for any information regarding the vandalism here.  They say the repair will be expensive and they don't know when they'll be able to fix the tombstones.  If you have any information you can call Crime Stoppers.  The number is 573-875-TIPS.

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