Vandals Strike Biloxi Cemetery - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/20/02

Vandals Strike Biloxi Cemetery

Vandals caused extensive damage at the Biloxi City Cemetery.

They toppled statues, overturned headstones and destroyed grave ornaments.

The vandalism covers a fairly large area. The damage stretches from the oldest section of cemetery just off Highway 90, to the current burial grounds along Irish Hill Drive. The longtime caretaker says there's been some vandalism here before. But this is the worst he's seen.

"I just can't even begin to think why somebody would do something like that," said Rodney McGilvary with the Biloxi Police Department.

Vandals struck 75 to 100 grave sites. They knocked over headstones in most instances.

Caretaker, Mike McDonnell, believes it happened between midnight and six Friday morning.

"It's a serious matter. It's a misdemeanor so to speak at the malicious mischief end of it. But if the value of the damage is three hundred dollars or more, it's a felony. And I'm sure we're going to have that here," said McGilvary.

Damage estimates are already running into tens of thousands of dollars. Many of the statues and monuments are costly.

Public works employees collected dozens of damaged grave ornaments the vandals left behind.

Police are looking for any information that might help track down those responsible. A similar crime was solved just a few years ago.

"We had this occur here in the same cemetery on the north side of Irish Hill about three years ago. And we put two people in jail for that crime," McGilvary said.

Biloxi public works crews straightened the smaller stones as a courtesy. The larger markers will require the use of heavy equipment.

Anyone with any information about the vandalism should call Biloxi police at 435-6103.

By Steve Phillips

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