Hundreds of Veterans' graves vandalized Memorial Day weekend
This Memorial Day, a 34-year-old is under arrest, accused of spray-painting over 250 swastikas on head stones in a Glen Carbon cemetery where veterans are buried.
More than 250 headstones were vandalized at Sunset Hills Cemetery, where more than 1,400 veterans are buried.
Some say this is a crime of hate against veterans and their loved ones, on a weekend they should be honored.
"They can't hurt them, they're already gone,” said Shirley Bryan, who was visiting graves of relatives buried in the cemetery. “The ones that hurt is the family that they did it to. The purpose, I don't know."
Cemetery staff worked hard over the weekend to clean graves off as best they could before its Memorial Day celebration, which people are set to start arriving for at 7 a.m. Monday.
“It just stinks,” said Michelle Newman, who was visiting her grandmother’s grave. “I mean for somebody to do something this horribly to the deceased it's pretty bad."
Glen Carbon and Edwardsville Police arrested the suspect in a joint effort Saturday afternoon. The suspect was arrested for criminal damages, but more charges are expected to be filed this week. They say several homes in the area were also hit.
“I hope that they get justice for these poor families that got attacked here,” Newman said.
Cemetery directors say they’ve seen an outpouring of support from the community and appreciate all of the help that has been offered.
Several Memorial ceremonies at the cemetery will begin Monday at noon. Cemetery directors say they would welcome volunteers to help hang flags at 7 a.m.