CHICAGO (STMW) – Someone vandalized a Chicago cemetery over the weekend, tipping over several grave markers and monuments and pulling up several flags placed at the grave sites of veterans.
“This is a rare, tragic thing, especially for the families,” Jim Fouch, general manager of Irving Park Cemetery, said Nov. 8.
Fifteen monuments and grave markers were tipped over with broken adornments, flowers and glass strewn about the cemetery at 7777 W. Irving Park Road.
“One of the monuments had a statue on it, and when the monument was pushed over, that statue was broken,” Fouch said, calling the whole thing disturbing.
He believes the incident took place the night of Nov. 6.
“The gates were closed at 7 p.m.,” Fouch said. “My guess is that it happened sometime after that. Vandals must have jumped the fence.”
Fouch he has no idea who could have done such a thing and would not speculate on whether it was teens or the work of someone committing a hate crime or someone protesting war.
“I don’t think it was someone protesting war because it didn’t just happen in the veterans’ part of the cemetery,” Fouch said. “I also don’t think it is a hate crime since we have a mix of races and ethnicities buried here.”
He did say he felt it would have taken two to three people to tip over the monuments, some of which he estimated weighed about 200 or so pounds.
“Except for one, most of the damage to the monuments and markers is minor,” he said as he stood next to the site of a child’s grave, where four tiny white angels that once adorned the marker lie broken on the ground.
Fouch said they are in the process of contacting the families.
“One person came out before we had a chance to tell her what happened,” Fouch said. “She asked, ‘Who could do such as thing?’ ”
Police are calling it criminal damage to property, he said.
Fouch said students from a Chicago military school’s ROTC class spent Nov. 6 placing about 1,000 flags in the ground next to the grave sites of veterans.
“Some of those flags were pulled up and broken,” Fouch said.
Fouch said the cemetery would help the families as much as possible.
“We will set the markers back up and repair what we can, but for the most part homeowners insurance will cover the repairs,” Fouch said. “But not many will involve insurance.”
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)