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Vandals damage headstones at Franklin cemetery

FRANKLIN, Ind. (WISH) — Some people are feeling outraged after vandals damaged statues and headstones at a cemetery, some dating back to the 1800’s.

It happened over the weekend at Greenlawn Cemetery in Franklin.

The operations supervisor told 24-Hour News 8 the vandalism comes at a time as the cemetery is preparing for Memorial Day. He said they had problems with vandals in the past, but nothing like this.

On a gloomy Wednesday, you can find some people paying their respects to their loved ones at Greenlawn.

“We make it a yearly progression, sometimes we have more members than this but we just make it a good day to remember our loved ones,” said Eunice Low.

It’s a final resting place for more than 20,000 but someone decided to cause trouble over the weekend.

“Honestly it makes me angry, yes makes me angry at the disrespect that shows to not only to the current people but the people who have taken care of that over the years,” said Johnny McCleary.

Employees discovered the vandalism early Monday morning.

“It’s an aggravating situation,” said Stuart Smith who works at the cemetery. “I have family members buried here and if something like this had happen to my family’s gravesites, then that’s just infuriating.”

Smith said he came into work and found 12 headstones toppled over and pushed off the base.

“We believe they deviated from the walking trail and sort of wreak havoc as they walked through the cemetery,” Smith said.

The headstones are pretty heavy, some weigh hundreds of pounds others more than a thousand and are irreplaceable.

“Some of the stones range back to the mid-1800 and so there’s a possibility there is no family left to help in this situation,” Smith said.

Not only did the vandals target the headstones, Smith said they went after angel statues as well.

“This goes beyond (toilet papering) somebody’s house or vandalizing somebody’s car, this is the final resting place for over 20,000 buried here at Greenlawn,” Smith said.

Smith said the cemetery filed a police report. Right now they are looking to see who can help them repair the damage and move the headstones.