Headstones vandalized in Batavia cemetery

Updated: 04/17/2014 6:15 PM
Created: 04/17/2014 4:00 AM WHEC.com
By: Rachel Spotts

Cemetery officials say it is becoming more difficult to protect their property when it comes to vandals and now they may be turning to the state for help.

Investigators are looking into the more than two dozen headstones damaged at a cemetery in Batavia. Owners say they’re having a hard time finding affordable methods to prevent criminals from targeting their property.

The vandalism investigation is focused to one area. Some headstones are knocked over, lying on the ground. Some have pieces broken off. The grounds keeper says many of these headstones will never look the same, even if they're repaired. 

Dozens of headstones vandalized, knocked down and even destroyed at the Elmwood Cemetery in Batavia. Anne Foster came by to check on a loved one's grave. 

Anne Foster said, “Where we were standing, we could see where there were a few stones that had been tipped over and they were big ones too.”

One of vandalized headstones marks the grave of a two-year-old boy. Some of the headstones are over one hundred years old.

Steve Davis has been running the cemetery for over twenty years. He says cases of vandalism, especially from neighborhood kids, are only getting worse. Davis says the cemetery doesn't have enough money to fix it. 

Steve Davis, Elmwood Cemetery Superintendent, said, “There's really not enough money to fence the area in and to lock it every night. I mean you almost have to police it.”

Police are doing just that and now they're asking for the public's help to find the vandals. 

Officer Eric Hill, Batavia Police, said, “It could be considered a felony depending on the amount of money for the damages.”

Davis said, “Any help that we can get to put these stones back up and get them repaired is a good thing.”

If you know who may have done this or if you've seen someone here at the cemetery late at night over the past few weeks, you're asked to call the Batavia Police Department. As for fixing these headstones, Davis is asking for help from the public. If you'd like to make a donation, you can call Davis at 343-7070. 

Investigators say if the vandals are not located, the cemetery will have to pay for all the repairs. Owners say they are now asking for state aid to help with the possible costs.

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