Our View

Cemetery vandalism is
a most despicable crime

Our View Cemetery vandalism is a most despicable crime

Cemetery vandalism is
a most despicable crime

What warped sense of values must a person have to enter a cemetery and commit the type of vandalism that was done at St. Vladimir’s Russian Orthodox Christian Cemetery in Jackson last week?

As far as we can tell, the people who perpetrated this despicable act have no sense of values whatsoever.

Jackson police are continuing to investigate the crime that was committed sometime between 4 p.m. May 12 and 8:30 a.m. May 13, when the damage was discovered by a cemetery employee.

According to police, vandals entered the cemetery on Route 571 and dislodged 73 headstones from their pedestals. Police said 13 headstones were destroyed when they struck the ground.

Decorations and offerings that had been left at numerous grave sites were destroyed or used to damage or desecrate grave sites and headstones. The damage has been estimated at $125,000.

The cemetery was founded in 1939. It was also vandalized 11 years ago when 18 headstones were overturned.

Jackson police Detective Lt. John Siedler reported that police collected evidence at the scene of the crime and are pursuing leads.

This is a crime that strikes at the heart of a community. It is a crime that transcends religion and socioeconomic status.

It doesn’t matter what the background or family circumstances of the criminals are. There is absolutely no excuse — no excuse at all — for anyone to set foot in a cemetery and commit the type of vandalism we have seen at St. Vladimir’s.

Police said they don’t know if this is a bias crime. It is a bias crime — one that shows a bias against society as a whole.

The people responsible for this heinous act should know they will be found. If they have even a shred of decency, they will turn themselves in to police today.

The punishment should fit the crime. Make the perpetrators pay for their misdeeds and sentence them to a penalty that will deter them from ever acting this way again and will send a message to anyone else who would even consider violating sacred ground.