At approximately 1:30pm, Monday, August 22 City of Kalamazoo staff were notified of potential vandalism at Riverside Cemetery. Upon notification staff visited the cemetery to assess and document any potential damage, initially estimating that over 40 headstones had been vandalized. Due to the severity of the incident, a report was filed with the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety who determined that 80 headstones had been affected in total. While some toppling of headstones is expected, this level of vandalism is unprecedented in either of Kalamazoo’s city cemeteries.
City staff will be seeking quotes to have the headstones that were not broken moved back into place. Headstones that have been chipped, scratched, broken, or otherwise damaged will have to remain “as is” unless the decision is made by the family to file an insurance claim or pursue legal action. A list of affected monuments is available pdf here (74 KB) .
City staff and Kalamazoo Public Safety are asking our community for help in identifying the perpetrator(s) of this crime. Staff believe the vandalism would have taken place sometime between Saturday, August 20 and Monday, August 22. With each square foot of granite weighing up to 250 pounds, the perpetrator(s) were likely experiencing physical exhaustion in the days following this vandalism as some of the monuments toppled weigh over 1,000 pounds. City staff are encouraging community members to share this story and asking anyone that may have noticed something suspicious, overheard bragging, or could provide any other information to come forward and help identify the perpetrator(s). The City of Kalamazoo is offering a $500 reward for information that leads to the prosecution and conviction of the perpetrator(s).
If you have any information about this crime please contact the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety at (269) 337-8994 or Silent Observer at (269) 343-2100 or visit www.kalamazoosilentobserver.com.