By Lindsey Seavert, WCCO-TV  

CRYSTAL, Minn. (WCCO) — Police are searching for the people who damaged several dozen gravestones at the Adath Chesed Shel Esmes Cemetery in Crystal.

Caretakers found 32 damaged markers, with some knocked over, and others moved to other locations in the cemetery.

“I think it is joy seekers or mischief makers and this is what they use as their target,” said Michael Morris, the cemetery superintendent. “It’s really an attack against common decency and human dignity and somewhat against the Jewish community, although this kind of thing happens in all cemeteries – Jewish, Lutheran Catholic.”

The cemetery is located near 36th Avenue and Winnetka Avenue in Crystal, and police believe the damaged occurred from April 28-30.

Morris said the damage occurred in the oldest part of the cemetery, with many of the graves belonging to the founders of theMinneapolis Jewish community. He said the families can no longer be traced, and several of the damaged headstones were graves belonging to young children.

“Do they realize these were the graves of small children that at the turn of the century died from childhood diseases? No, not really, but it’s really troubling,” said Morris.

Especially for Dave Hill, who discovered some of the damage near his grandfather’s grave.

“I went over there and tried to pick a few up, and I’m a pretty big guy. I can pick up just about anything, but some of the stones weighted 800 to 900 pounds so it had to be more than a few kids turning them over,” said Hill.

CrystalPolice want to hear from anyone with information. Morris said that may be tough. He said the cemetery was hit by vandals in 2003, with an estimated 180 gravestones damaged, and that case is still unsolved as well.

“This is sacred work we do out here, we are trying to protect the identities of these people and protect them in perpetuity,” said Morris, who calls this a crime against history and tradition, an act of vandalism hurting many victims.

“It’s not so much dealing with the physical damage, the cost of the physical damage, but emotional damage,” said Morris.

Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to call Crystal police at (763) 525-6215.

Comments (14)
  1. :( says:

    Some people have no respect. I hope Karma comes knocking for those responsible!

  2. Nick says:

    There are 3 cemeteries within about 1 block here. 2 of them are Christian, this one is Jewish.The Jewish one is no stranger to vandalism unfortunately. I’d like to see a side by side comparison between how often the Jewish one gets hit to how often the Christian ones do.

    1. Joe Thorp says:

      The larger Catholic cemetery has fewer then 100 monuments in it, and the smaller one is right next to city hall as in parking lot touching, cemetery entrance. Where as this cemetery that got/gets vandalized is located in such a way that it is harder to see from the public streets what is going on inside. Look at the larger cemeteries around the cities and you will see that disrespect knows very little bigotry they seem to tip them at all the cemeteries.

  3. Nick says:

    Give it 10 years.

  4. Stephanie Levasseur-Duszynski says:

    Your point, “SkipperGurl”? (Nice.) I’m sure it’s fantastic that your mom and dad could afford a wonderful place for you to grow up and graduate in 2005, but your disrespect of the citizens of Crystal is pretty “gross” as well. Good job, kiddo.

  5. all2theG says:

    (skippergurl) burn!!!!!

  6. EH says:

    My Grandparents are buried at this cemetery. This is very sad that loved ones can’t even be protected after they’re gone

  7. lowlifers suck says:

    TO THE LOSERS THAT THAT LIKE TIPPING HEADSTONES how would you or your parents FEEL if someone came through YOUR HOUSE with a BULLDOZER??? you reside at the bottom of the totem pole alongside rapists and child molestors

  8. Nancy Aleshire says:

    Sad, sick story. They need to find whoever did this and make them compensate Holocaust survi vors. To those of us who consider ourselves Christian, we need to remember our Jewish roots and have a love for the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. Remember Jesus was Jewish.

  9. Bob the Builder says:

    This is probably a few “bored” kids who don’t realize the impact of their actions. I am sure they are boasting about it and someone will turn them in.

  10. Bob the Builder says:

    Rapists and Child molesters? Let’s keep this in perspective.

  11. Security0207 says:

    Hey bob the builder..Kids or no kids this is serious and should be treated that way.. cause you Don’t know how anyyone would feel until it happans to their loved ones.. if these Sick littls A** H*le’s are doing this kind of hateful Crime now what will they be doing in a couple years ?????

  12. security0207 says:

    skippergurl105 i have family and Great friends that live in Crystal so maybe you should think of what you say before you say it.. Cause you could offend someone that has done nothing to you… and thats makes you just as bad as the sick F*****ers that did THIS “”Smart comment PREPPY””

  13. says:

    This always makes me so sad!

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