Dozens of headstones knocked over, property damaged at NY cemetery

NEW WINDSOR, New York (WABC) -- Police are searching for the vandal who damaged headstones and other property at an Orange County cemetery.

Authorities say the incident occurred sometime between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning at the Calvary Cemetery at Route 94 and Route 9W in New Windsor.

Someone knocked over about 70 headstones from gravesites and damaged numerous other items, according to investigators.

One of the headstones marked the grave of Debra Evans' sister. She learned about what happened on Facebook.

"It's pretty bad when you go to see your loved ones grave vandalized like that and the cemetery doesn't even give you a phone call or the family members a phone call..and here we're at," said Evans, a Newburgh resident.

A cemetery worker made the shocking discovery Monday morning.

New Windsor detectives are canvassing the neighborhood and reviewing video surveillance footage in a search for clues. They have also interviewed neighbors.

So far no suspects have been identified.

Detective Sergeant Chris Sager was born and raised in New Windsor. His efforts to find the culprits are more than just professional, they're personal.

"We're trying to right now kind of assess the damage, what's actually damaged and what's actually knocked over," said Sager. "But either way, it's a pretty crappy thing to happen here."

"My father, my grandfather and my grandmother are all buried here and I wanted to make sure nothing happened to their stones," said Newburgh resident Desiree Torres. "And it's fine. But I mean, the other ones, this is tragic, I mean I don't understand. It's horrible."

Several businesses in Orange County have pitched in to help repair the cemetery. The repair effort included the delicate placement of a hand-carved angel back where it belongs.

Workers brought in a crane and heavy equipment to help move the monuments that were pushed over back into place.

Anyone with information, particularly video surveillance in the area, is asked to contact the New Windsor Police Department at (845) 565-7000 or by email at kmoore@newwindsor-ny.gov.

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