CREATED Sep. 18, 2012
TWENTYNINE PALMS--30 grave sites were defaced by crooks sometime between Saturday night and Monday morning at 29 Palms Public Cemetery on Encelia Avenue.
Vandals took ceramic statues and other gifts from head stones and smashed them to pieces.
"It's such a peaceful, calm, tranquil spot," said Cemetery Secretary Stacey Lee. "To come in and see that somebody had come in and disrespected the people who are buried here, the families and the employees, was pretty disheartening."
Stacey Lee works in the office at the 29 Palms Public Cemetery. She says a resident out for an early morning walk on Monday first noticed the mess.
Authorities say ceramic figures like this one were taken and broken from about 30 different grave stones here, the problem is they're not sure which sites they came from.
Care taker Don Smith has worked at the cemetery for the past decade. He says a similar incident happened here 5 years ago.
"It was still smashed up in some of the aisles they took them and smashed them in the walkways." Smith said.
The vandals caused a couple hundred dollars in damages. A misdemeanor vandalism charge according to local police.
But the emotional damage and lost memories are priceless and irreplacable.