Bennington, V.T. (News10)-One week before Halloween some real-life goblins committed a devilish act upon a well-known, historic cemetery by overturning and damaging hundreds of gravestones, some belonging to veterans.
Jonah Spivak, Communications Coordinator for the Town of Bennington showed News10’s Anya Tucker the damage at the Village Cemetery. “We’re estimating approximately 200 gravestones have been vandalized or more. Many of them just pushed over or knocked over as we see here. But, definitely a number of them have been broken or stones that were restored and have been re-broken now as a result of this,” said Spivak.
The widespread vandalism is believed to have occurred over the weekend. Many of the seriously damaged headstones are among Bennington, Vermont’s oldest gravesites that have stood for hundreds of years. Spivak pointed to one toppled headstone belonging to a child buried in the 19th century. “We are looking at a gravestone from a child who died, a little over a year old. They had to do that to a child’s gravestone?”
Also buried in the cemetery are many veterans, going back to the Revolutionary War. Lee Knapp’s grandfather also served his country and was buried near the front entrance of the old cemetery. “He would do anything for anybody,” Knapp said of his grandfather. “He was a nice guy. Very nice guy. And this is the thanks we get, right here,” he said gesturing toward the overturned headstone.
News10’s Anya Tucker met Lee and his cousin Tina Cole assessing the damage at their family burial plot. Anya asked what they would say to the person or people responsible for vandalizing their grandfather and grandmother’s shared headstone as well as one belonging to another ancestor. “I don’t have any respect for you at all, for what you just done. Would I do that to your family? No. So, what can you say,” said Lee.
While the police investigate, Spivak says the Vermont Old Cemetery Association, a non-profit organization has offered to assist with repairs. The help is welcome for what’s expected to be a monumental effort. The police are asking members of the public to share any tips regarding this vandalism, or even any wildlife or security camera video that might have a view of the cemetery.
The public is asked to share any tips regarding this vandalism with the police. If you have a game camera or a security camera with a view of the cemetery, give Bennington Police a call at (802) 442-1030.