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Signs of Cemetery Vandalism Quickly Erased, Police Processing Evidence

by on May 29, 2014 6:00 AM

It didn't take long to make things right after a nasty vandalism spree at Pine Hall Cemetery, located in the 1700 block of West College Avenue.

Fifteen headstones were overturned and left lying helter skelter.

The crime happened sometime between 7 p.m. Memorial Day and 10 a.m. Tuesday, when the toppled grave markers were discovered.

By Wednesday morning, less than 24 hours later, a crew from Mayes Memorials was working to push, pull and lift the stones, which weigh up to a thousand pounds each, back into place.

"I think it's very heartless," says Ron Strouse, Secretary-Treasurer of the Pine Hall Cemetery Association. "I don't think the person who did this had any feeling about it. I think it was just a random act."

Worried relatives have been stopping at the cemetery since news of the vandalism surfaced. They're checking on family graves to make sure everything is alright.

Fortunately, those toppled headstones are relatively new and came through the abuse undamaged.

That was not the case at the Boalsburg Cemetery which was targeted by vandals earlier this month. In that cemetery, more than 50 headstones were pushed over -- and in some cases -- smashed. It will likely cost tens of thousands of dollars to replace the more ornate pieces, some of which date back hundreds of years.

The focus now is on catching those responsible. State College Police are looking into the vandalism in Boalsburg. Ferguson Township Police are investigating the incident at Pine Hall Cemetery. Authorities believe the two attacks may be related.

At the Pine Hall Cemetery, officers collected some evidence but won't say exactly what they found. "We're working diligently to process the evidence and I don't want to comment further on that," says Ferguson Township Police Chief Diane Conrad. "Hopefully, we'll have some information to make public in a few days."

A $3,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest in the Boalsburg vandalism attack. So far, there is no reward for information about the Pine Hall Cemetery incident.

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Steve Bauer is Managing Editor & Chief Content Officer at StateCollege.com. Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy. You can e-mail Steve at Steve.Bauer@StateCollege.com and you can follow him on Twitter @SteveBauerSCcom
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