Sanger Cemetery Vandalism

March 21, 2008 8:06:19 PM PDT
Investigators say more than 60 headstones were damaged at Sanger Cemetery.Investigators have no suspects at this point. The vandals struck sometime overnight and left little to no clues. The crime caused heartache for families who arrived planning to pay their respects to loved ones.

Cemetery workers struggle to fix a one-ton headstone. They have a lot of work to do because all over vandals knocked down markers some dating back to the 1920s.

Quintanilla: "Look this, moves it too."

Florestela Quintanilla found workers fixed her mother's headstone soon after it was knocked down.

Quintanilla: "I feel so bad so bad, because no only was here look at that maybe they tried to take out this too."

Quintanilla points to the more than 60 other vandalized grave sites. It's a sight bringing a lot of heartache.

Sonksen: "A lot of this stuff broken off. Those are easy to break off."

Cemetery Manager Ken Sonksen believes this is the first time in recent memory that criminals targeted Sanger Cemetery.

The cemetery manager says providing security here is tough. Surveillance camera are simply too expensive. Their only source of protection from vandals is a small chain link fence and this obviously does not provide much help."

More than 14-thousand people are buried here. Most burial sites were left untouched. It's painful for families to see a place of eternal rest trampled and torn apart.

Sonksen: "It hurts to see people don't respect other people's property. They don't respect the dead and that's kind of disturbing."

The cemetery manager expects crews to return Saturday morning to finish repairing the headstones. They want to have the entire area cleaned up in time for Easter Sunday. That's when many families visit their loved ones.


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