An 11-year-old has been arrested after headstones were toppled and damaged in a Vandalia, Ill., cemetery.
According to a press release from the Vandalia Police Department, officials discovered Thursday morning that 25 headstones in the Fairlawn Cemetery were damaged overnight. The release said some of the headstones were knocked over and others were broken.
The Illinois State Police was called in to investigate and collect evidence. The Vandalia Police Department and Vandalia Mayor Rickey J. Gottman were on the scene as well.
“There’s no sense to why anyone would do it. This is a sacred place in our community and have no reason why someone would do this,” Mayor Gottman said. “It’s just a shame what happened here and why someone would come out to a cemetery and destroy headstones of people who are deceased. It just boggles my mind.”
Friday morning, an 11-year-old child was arrested for criminal damage to the property.
People with family members buried in the cemetery stopped by Thursday to check their loved one’s graves. The cemetery, which is owned by the city, includes an old Catholic Cemetery with very old headstones.
“There’s no way these people [the vandals] knew who any of these people were, especially when you got into the Catholic Cemetery where you see those stones are very, very old,” Gottman said. “More than likely, there’s nobody from the family left. Will those stones be replaced? I don’t know, because they are hard to read, there’s very little wording left on those stones.”
The suspect has not been identified because they are a minor. The police department says it may make more than one arrest.