Some very old headstones are now in pieces after vandals struck the Moose Jaw Cemetery this week.
Jody Hauta is the director of parks and recreation with the City of Moose Jaw. He says maintenance workers discovered the damage on Thursday morning. He has noticed a lot of public reaction from the community on social media.
“A lot of it is frustration, disappointment and sadness, I think, that someone would stoop to that level to actually do damage to a loved one’s monument or memorial,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of concern in our community that vandals would do this sort of thing to a cemetery that is acknowledging a person’s life.”
It’s not the first time vandals have hit the cemetery in Moose Jaw, but this time the damage is estimated at about $18,000. About 45 headstones were knocked over. Some can be propped up again, but others are broken beyond repair.
“There are some monuments that were damaged that are priceless because they were hand-carved sandstone and they shattered when they hit the ground,” Hauta explained.
The city will do what it can to prop up some of the headstones that were tipped over. Hauta says a few monument companies have expressed interest in helping to restore some of the larger monuments.
Typically, family members are responsible for replacing or repairing headstones of their relatives, but in many of these cases, that probably won’t happen. The cemetery dates back to the late 1800s, so families either died long ago or their last living descendants have moved away.
“The damaged monuments, what we’ll do is we’ll pick up the pieces and we’ll save the pieces,” he said. “But unfortunately, those will go unrepaired unless a family member happens to come forward and wants to install a new monument or try and repair the pieces that were there.”
Moose Jaw police is looking for the people responsible for the vandalism.
Anyone with information about this incident can reach the Moose Jaw police at 306-694-7600 or can contact Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.