Subjects kicked over 21 headstones at South Park Cemetery, Wednesday night, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.
The incident was reported to the Roswell Police Department the following day. Cemetery Sexton Mike Kirk told the Daily Record that knocking over monuments is common at this time of year.
“I think it’s some kind of gang initiation. Last year they hit Sadler and Son’s right across the street.”
The area of the cemetery most affected was the central portion, which is the oldest part. According to Kirk, replacing the headstones in an upright position will cost the City several thousand dollars. He said that none of the grave markers were broken, but the desecration of monuments and theft of bronze plaques, especially from veterans’ graves, is not unheard of. One family had to spend $3,000 to replace a marker that kids had set on fire.
South Park staff spent extra time to put things right. Kirk said surveillance cameras are not an option at the cemetery. “There was a time when cemetery staff lived here, but City Hall removed the housing in the 1970s.”
“I consider the desecration of grave sites to an ultimate insult to people’s heritage,” said Chaves County Crime Stoppers President Steve Wolfe. “We at the Chaves County Crime Stoppers want to play a part in apprehending the person or persons who did this. Call our anonymous tip line 1-888-594-8477 (TIPS) and you could be eligible for significant cash award.”
The Roswell Police Department is also interested in hearing from anyone who has information pertaining to this case. Contact the RPD at 624-6770.