It's a sacred spot-- the
West Pleasant Street cemetery in Claremont, N.H. But, over the weekend,
criminals left their mark.
"It is, it is very
senseless," said Barbara Vashaw of Claremont.
More than 30 gravestones
were knocked over and damaged, dozens of family plots disturbed. Many of the
remains in this historic cemetery have rested peacefully here for hundreds of
"It seems like there
is something else that they could be doing better without picking on the dead
people. They are resting, you know," Vashaw said.
"We had patrols that
went through that cemetery late Saturday evening, so we suspect that the damage
took place between Saturday night and early Sunday morning," Claremont
Police Chief Alex Scott said.
The stepped up patrols
were a result of prior vandalism. This is not the first time the cemetery was
targeted; 75 grave markers were toppled in July.
"There was a
community forum last week that sprang up as a result of the incident early this
summer," Scott said. "So, it was in the newspapers again and that may
have possibly triggered a copycat incident or it could be the same
Most of the gravestones
have been put back in place. But others, the burial spots for mothers and
fathers, will never be the same. Several of the gravestones are beyond repair
and with no living relatives that the city is aware of to pay for a replacement;
they will more than likely remain this way.
"The community outcry
from this type of vandalism is much more significant and understandably so when
you are dealing with essentially sacred ground," Scott said.
"When you put your
parents or whoever you have to put down, you want them to rest there,"
A peaceful place now the
site of a senseless crime.
Residents are offering a
$1,000 reward for any information that leads to a conviction in the case.
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