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Vandals damage gravestones in Tippecanoe County cemetery

MULBERRY, Ind. (WLFI) – A $500 reward is being offered in connection to the vandalism at a Tippecanoe County cemetery.

“It’s really sad,” Sheffield Township Trustee Pamela Crum said. “It’s just very disrespectful.”

Crum said it all started with a call from the Funk Newcomer Cemetery groundskeeper Thursday afternoon.

“He said, ‘Pam, you need to call the sheriff’s department. We’ve had some vandalism.’” Crum said.

Vandals have damaged gravestones at a cemetery southwest of Mulberry, Indiana. A reward is being offered to find the culprits. (WLFI Photo)

Dozens of gravestones were damaged. Some were pushed over and some were smashed.

“I can’t understand why somebody would do it, just because it’s irresponsible,” she added.

Some of the headstones in the cemetery date back more than 150 years.

Crum said due to the age, some gravestones could be priceless.

“They’re irreplaceable,” she said. “They’re made out of sandstone and some of them, you’ll notice, are just broken into pieces.”

Joseph Wingate, who lives nearby, said he just doesn’t understand the motive behind the crime.

“It’s a travesty,” Wingate said. “I mean, that’s our history.”

History, that’s now left in pieces.

Crum said insurance won’t pay to replace the gravestones. Considering their age, contacting relatives could be hard.

That leaves Sheffield Township fitting the bill.

“There’s just not that kind of money available to even try to replace that,” Crum said.

With more than $20,000 in damages estimated so far, Crum said she hopes those responsible will be caught and a lesson can be learned.

“Just be more respectful,” Crum said. “It’s our history that’s here in this cemetery.”

The public was invited to help with cleanup from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. The Funk Newcomer Cemetery is located in the 6300 block of South County Road 1000 East, about 2 miles southwest of Mulberry.

The $500 reward is being offered by Johnathan Fisher of Lafayette’s Fisher Funeral Chapel.

If you have information about this case, you are asked to call the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office at 765-423-9388.

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