Pine Grove Cemetery, located only two short blocks from our house is a favorite spot to wander around and walk the dog. It’s disheartening to see the damage done by vandals that tipped over and damaged dozens of headstones in the this and neighboring Saint Joseph’s Cemetery over the past weekend. Cemetery officials reported the damage to the Wausau Police Department on Monday.
According to the Wausau Daily Herald:
Most of the desecrated graves date back to the 1800s, Pine Grove Cemetery Director Patty Grimm said Monday.
“We’re talking about stones that are irreplaceable,” Grimm said. “We’re just now learning the extent of the damage and starting to contact families, but many of the families are long gone. It’s incredibly sad.”
Grimm said cemetery officials are compiling a list of the number of tombstones destroyed and names of the families affected, and will share that information with the media and investigators when a list is compiled.
The damage had caused a groundswell of emotion and reaction in the community. Many of these headstones are quite old and irreplaceable. Some of the families affected are no longer living in the area, so it is uncertain if they would or could even be repaired. One local business has stepped forward and created a reward fund to help catch the perpetrators.
Fred Mueller Automotive, located on Grand Ave. in Schofield has offered the following reward:
In an effort to bring the individuals to justice for recent events that have happened in our community, Fred Mueller Automotive, would like to offer a reward for your assistance.
Sometime between 5pm on Saturday July, 15th and the Morning of Sunday July 16, 2013 an individual or individuals took it upon themselves to cause a bit of havoc in our community. In doing so, 13 vehicles at our Schofield location were damaged. This is minor compared to the numerous headstones that we desecrated at Pine Grove and St. Joseph’s Cemeteries in Wausau.
Due to these recent events, we are offering a $1,000 reward to the individual that comes forward with a tip that leads to the arrest and prosecution of this individual or individuals. In addition to the reward that is being offered, it will be matched in a donation of $1,000 to be split between the two cemeteries.
Two local charities have stepped up and increased the reward fund to $3,000.
Wandering in the cemetery this evening, we took a few pictures of the damage. It’s terrible to see, and hopefully those involved will be brought to justice.