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Vandals hit historic cemetery

July 22, 2009

Vandals have disturbed the final resting place of the people buried at historic Wauwatosa Cemetery, pushing over at least six large gravestones and a granite bench top.

Donald Joers, a former cemetery employee who has several family members buried there, regularly walks or drives through the property to make sure there are no problems. But last week he saw the upended headstones and knew vandals had struck.

"You can’t expect the police to sit there and watch 24/7," he said. "It's too bad some people don’t have the maturity to understand. It’s disrespectful for the people buried there and the people who come visit their loved ones."

In addition to the headstones being overturned the night of July 15, an American flag that had been donated a few weeks prior by Wauwatosa VFW Post 1465 was stolen from the cemetery flagpole and a granite ball estimated to weigh one ton was knocked off a historic monument.

People have been buried at the cemetery since the mid-1800s, and all of the graves are at least 50 years old,

Due to the material and craftsmanship of the memorials, they are nearly impossible to restore to original condition. One remains toppled over because the cemetery does not have the right equipment to lift the monument, which weighs several thousand pounds.

This marks at least the second time the cemetery at 2445 Wauwatosa Ave. has been hit by vandals since April.

Police plan to beef up patrols in the cemetery.

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