Hundreds of tombstones toppled - Philadelphia News

NORTH PHILADELPHIA -August 18, 2008 At Mount Peace Cemetery, the peace has been disturbed and violated. In the last week, more than 300 headstones have been toppled in this landmark burial ground that dates back to the 19th century.

The superintendent, Reginal Gaskin, who's been in the business nearly 40 years, says he's never seen damage this extensive and he is upset.

Many of the damaged headstones are massive. It took a crew to knock them over.

"It had to take more than a teenager or two; that's young adults or adults doing this," Gibson said due to the tombstones weighing three to four tons each.

The repair work is tedious, time-consuming, and costly. Workers have managed to get nearly 80 gravestones back upright since the destruction began early last week and has continued nightly ever since.

As cemetery workers got on the bus to go home last night, they reported seeing teens jumping the fence to get out; they are the chief suspects according to police in this case of massive vandalism.

Many with relatives buried in the cemetery came through Tuesday to check their graves for damage and their reaction was universal.

"It's a shame that the way they desecrate and really disrespect; it's a shame what's really going on in the country today with the youth and everything else," Curtis Odom of Hunting Park said.

Police patrols have been stepped up, but so far no arrests and no major leads on whom the culprits are.

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