Cemetery vandalized; Grounds keepers want answers

HARRISBURG, AR (KAIT) - Vandalism at one Region 8 cemetery has those who maintain the grounds wanting answers. Several tombstones at the Old Harrisburg Cemetery were knocked over and broken, leaving behind hundred of dollars worth of damage.

"I come here about once a week to check the cemetery," said Cemetery Trustee Don Morgan, who oversees the Old Harrisburg Cemetery.

And this past Monday, when Morgan walked through the brass entrance, he couldn't believe what he found.

"I was thinking that it was just awful. I noticed some of them broke and turned over by the gate. As I walked down through, we counted 25 that were turned over and this is the second time it's happened," said Morgan.

Back in 2008, Morgan says around 22 tombstones were struck by vandalism. The Old Harrisburg Cemetery is over 150 years old and maintained by the First United Methodist Church. It's a special place for Morgan. "It means a lot. It's history," said Morgan. The man who founded their church was even laid to rest in this cemetery.

Police have been notified. Morgan says the church is even offering a $1,000 reward to whoever can help lead to an arrest. "If they are caught, they will be prosecuted," said Morgan.

But for now, Morgan says the next step is to pick up the pieces. "We'll clean it up. The police said they would patrol it and try and keep an eye on it, but they can't be here 24 hours a day," said Morgan.

Morgan says until the ground dries out, they won't be able to really start cleaning up the mess. They do ask residents to keep an eye out. If anyone has any information on the crime, you can contact the Harrisburg Police Department at (870) 578-2530.@

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