Tombstones damaged by vandals CENTRAL--Union Mills * Westminster * Sandymount * Finksburg

June 03, 1993|By Bill Talbott | Bill Talbott,Staff Writer

Vandals damaged or destroyed at least 12 tombstones in two Westminster cemeteries after the city celebrated Memorial Day on Monday.

Five tombstones in St. John's Cemetery, behind the main branch of the library on East Main Street, were overturned during the weekend, according to city police.

The stones, some of them broken, were discovered by a neighbor when she went to the cemetery Tuesday morning to pick up trash and feed the birds as is her daily practice.

The other seven markers were found vandalized in the Westminster Cemetery, off Church Street.

Some grave markers dating back to the turn of the century have become brittle from many years of exposure to the weather and cannot be satisfactorily repaired, said George

Irwin, vice president and co-owner of Mathias Monuments.

"It is almost impossible to perfectly match the marble in an old tombstone, even if you crush marble dust and fill in the cracks and broken pieces," Mr. Irwin said. "The new glue will yellow and the patch never matches exactly."

Granite is harder and easier to repair, but there is no good solution to the problems of vandalism, he said.

Cpl. Rick May, a spokesman for the city police department, said anyone caught defacing, damaging or removing headstones could be charged with desecration of a cemetery and face a maximum fine of $2,000, up to three years in jail or both.

Police said some tombstones were damaged previously, but they were unable to give an estimate of the number or the cost of the damage.

There are no suspects and the investigation is continuing, police said.

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