Posted at: 10/16/2012 2:35 PM
Updated at: 10/16/2012 5:51 PM
By: Ray Levato
Vandals struck a rural cemetery in Orleans County, toppling more than two dozen headstones over the weekend. Some of the grave markers are so old they are hard to read, but they represent a life lived in the close-knit town of Kendall.
The Beechwood Cemetery is off West Kendall Road in the town of Kendall. The cemetery is owned and maintained by the town and dates from the mid 1800s. Its residents include pioneers to that area of western New York. Sometime last week, vandals toppled 24 headstones, some beyond repair.
Kendall Supervisor Dan Gaesser showed News10NBC some of the historic headstones that were overturned in Beechwood Cemetery.
The Orleans County Sheriff says a deputy was checking the cemetery last Friday and found that vandals had damaged an old chapel. It was October 12, not the 13. Then on Sunday, the cemetery caretaker discovered the damaged headstones.
Gaesser said, “It's hard to even talk about it. It just puts knots in your stomach, the devastation and destruction.”
Ray Levato said, “Who would do something like this?”
Gaesser said, “We believe it was kids just causing trouble.”
Bart Joseph, Kendall Town Councilman, said, “This is their resting place. It's like going into a church. Then to have somebody come here and desecrate the memorials families erected to them, it's not right.”
Some of the headstones are 150 years old.
Gaesser said, “We have it estimated somewhere in the thousands of dollars worth of damage and some of the monuments are so old that we don't believe they are replaceable.”
Joseph said, “If you're the individual and you're watching this, do the right thing and step up, and be accountable for your actions.”
The Kendall Town Board meeting Tuesday night to approve $1,500 for security cameras and solar-powered motion activated floodlights, so that if vandals strike here again, they'll be caught on video.
The Orleans County Sheriff's Department says it has some evidence and is pursuing leads in the case.