Monday, September 16, 2013

New Security in Oak Grove after Vandalism, by Shelby Phillips

Cameras have been installed and are currently in operation at Oak Grove Cemetery after it was vandalized.  On the night of August 10th around 60 headstones were knocked down from their pedestals. 

“The cameras are up and functioning,” says Gene Phillips, secretary of the Board of Trustees at Oak Grove Cemetery.  He says they are scattered all around the cemetery and have already detected an early-morning trespasser.

It seems necessary to remind the public—and especially the college students across the street—that trespassing on cemetery grounds after hours is a finable offence.  Standard cemetery hours are 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, with special daylight hours from 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM.

Though Oak Grove has insurance it does not cover the cost of the felled markers.  These stones are owned by the families of the deceased and considered personal property.  After the crime family members were contacted.  It is expected that each family’s homeowner’s insurance will possibly cover part, if not all, of the damages.

It took a crew of six around sixty hours of labor to put the monuments back in place. 
The monuments weigh anywhere from 500-1,000 pounds.  This draws officials to believe that a group of individuals is responsible for the distinct line of downed headstones.    

Oak Grove Cemetery is located on La Crosse Street, across from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse Campus.  The grounds act as a popular place to walk and jog for students in the area. 

There is a $1,000.00 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the vandalism.  Contact Crimestoppers (608)784-TIPS with any further information.