Monkton residents dismayed by cemetery damage - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Monkton residents dismayed by cemetery damage

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MONKTON, Vt. - Residents in Monkton are reacting to a senseless act of vandalism at a nearby cemetery.  Police say 10 tombstones were damaged -- many historical -- and two local teens have been charged with the crime.

Sitting on top of a hill in Monkton, the quiet and peaceful Boro Cemetery is filled with history -- the graves of love-ones dating back to the 1800's.

Florence Vincent says she comes to the cemetery to visit her uncle who passed away decades ago. But instead of paying her respects Sunday, Vincent was left with many questions. "Why would anybody want to destroy something as meaningful as the stones remembering people's families? Why would you do that?" She said.

Police say two local teens tipped over numerous gravestone on Friday, breaking many at the base.

Vermont State Police Trooper Andrew Leise says it isn't clear how many were damaged last week, but over the past month about 10 tombstones were vandalized. "There are Civil War vets in the cemetery. One of the tombstones that was vandalized was from a veteran from The War of 1812, so we took that pretty seriously," Trooper Leise said.

Police say both juveniles have been charged with unlawful mischief -- a misdemeanor. Early estimates of damages are around $800, and police say if that number goes up, the teens could be facing felony charges. "At this point, however, they are going to look into it further to see is it going to be higher for the damages. But again as I said, for the families, these tombstones are priceless and it means a lot to them -- and to have this happen is very devastating for them," Trooper Leise said.

Vincent says it's hard to comprehend such a senseless act that many in the community are struggling with. "I'm thankful it wasn't his stone," Vincent said.  "For the ones that find that their stones have been split in half, that has got to be very tragic because they know that they can't put the stone back together again."

Officials from The Vermont Old Cemetery Association says if Monkton applies for a grant through the organization, they will likely be awarded money to help fix up the stones.
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