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Sep 7, 2016 1:56 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

UPDATE: Donations Sought For Vandalized Markers At Southampton Cemeteries

Headstones damaged by vandals in the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Cemetery in Southampton.  DANA SHAW
Sep 9, 2016 11:34 AM

UPDATE: Friday, 11 a.m.

In light of recent vandalism, the local Brockett Funeral Home has set up an online fundraising page to collect donations for the Southampton Cemetery and nearby Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Cemetery.

Funeral Director Dominick Abbate said he set up the GoFundMe page Friday morning to help cover costs of repairs from the vandalism after seeing the toppled stones firsthand. Over the holiday weekend 12 tombstones were turned over at Southampton Cemetery and 20 tombstones were turned over at Sacred Hearts.

“There was a lot of damage,” he said. “I thought we, as part of the community, should help out any way we can.”

Mr. Abbate said the Funeral Home hopes to raise $1000 to be split between the two cemeteries to help cover repair costs. Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/2t9yfrrq.

UPDATE: Wednesday, 4 p.m.

According to Southampton Town Police Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa, the crime is estimated to have taken place between Saturday, September 3, and Tuesday, September 6, in the morning. Southampton Cemetery had 12 tombstones turned over with one stone broken and Sacred Hearts had 20 tombstones turned over with one broken as well. Some tombstones dated back to the 1800s, according to Det. Sgt. Costa.

Town Police are currently asking for the public's assistance with any information about the crime. Police are expected to put out an anonymous Crime Stoppers tip line soon, which will have a reward attached.

ORIGINAL STORY

Dozens of toppled and broken headstones and other memorial markers were discovered at both the Southampton Cemetery and the nearby Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Cemetery on Tuesday afternoon.

As he walked through the cemetery examining the damaged stones on Wednesday, Eric Wright, the Southampton Cemetery superintendent, said he hopes to obtain state funds to help repair and replace the approximately one dozen headstones there and two dozen headstones also damaged at Sacred Hearts.

“You can put in a new one—but it’s just not the same,” Mr. Wright said while touching an old 6-foot-tall marble cross that was on the ground, broken in half. “These are irreplaceable.”

According to Southampton Town Police, two reports were filed with police yesterday afternoon for the vandalism at the two cemeteries—acts that are most likely linked and considered a felony because of the extent of the damage. There had been no arrests as of early Wednesday afternoon.

Mr. Wright, who has been the superintendent of the cemetery for two years, said he had never seen vandalism of this scale before, and that he suspects the process of repairing them will be protracted.

Now that the police reports are filed, Mr. Wright must reach out to the owners of the plots to see if they could foot the cost of the repairs. Ultimately, if family members cannot be reached or cannot afford repairs, the financial burden will fall back on the cemetery.

Mr. Wright said that with the increasing popularity of cremation, at half the cost, money is not coming into the cemetery the way it used to. “We don’t have the time manpower or the money,” he said. “We have just enough to do regular maintenance, so we’re looking for donations.”

With every burial at the cemetery, fee money is put aside in a state insurance fund to help offset the cost of such necessities as repairing damage by vandals, but Mr. Wright said the Southampton Cemetery must apply for funding through the New York State Cemetery Board to see if the Southampton Cemetery is eligible in this case.

He described the act of actually toppling over the gravestones—which can weigh 300 to 400 pounds—as a very deliberate effort.

“They’re very hard to push over,” Mr. Wright said. “They’re heavy and you can’t just go and pull them back up—you have to do it delicately. You have to be careful, these are very expensive things people do when their loved ones pass away.”

Mr. Wright said he is having the damaged assessed, and that it is not yet known which stones can be repaired and which will need to be replaced. After this incident he said he hopes the cemetery will be able to install a surveillance system or gates for the entrances to deter further damage at the 50-acre cemetery. He said he suspects the damage was inflicted by teenagers.

“If they ever get caught, these kids are going to be in a lot of trouble,” he said. “It’s a shame. We were all young once, but to push them all over? What were they thinking when they did it?”

Southampton Town Police Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa, the detective assigned to the case, could not immediately be reached for further details.

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Wish the Guardian Angels were in the area.
By watchdog1 (401), Southampton on Sep 7, 16 4:25 PM
Tragic! Hope those responsible are brought to justice.
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Sep 7, 16 4:56 PM
1 member liked this comment
To whoever did this - totally not cool. Not at all.

Shameful behavior. Hope they catch the person(s) who did this.
By SH_Res (341), Southampton on Sep 7, 16 5:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
F****ng animals.
By bigfresh (2984), north sea on Sep 7, 16 5:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
Wow, disgusting.
By dnice (1985), Hampton Bays on Sep 7, 16 5:35 PM
What a disgrace. I've never understood the reason anyone would do this. Just being destructive to be destructive.
By bb (721), Hampton Bays on Sep 7, 16 6:10 PM
When found they should be prosecuted and punished. No more they are good kids. Tired of the BS with the kids, poor kids.
By knitter (870), Southampton on Sep 7, 16 6:13 PM
SH Town Police sound determined to catch these thoughtless hoodlums. Glad to see it. Can the public add to the reward?
By KevinLuss (352), SH on Sep 7, 16 7:36 PM
1 member liked this comment
This is beyond disgusting I hope that the individuals are caught and torn with guilt.
By Piercethefierce (2), Southampton on Sep 8, 16 12:39 AM
If one of those was my grandfather, rest assured they likely paying for it right now.
By even flow (497), East Hampton on Sep 8, 16 7:21 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By toes in the water (539), southampton on Sep 8, 16 7:37 AM
A stint in hell is in these vandals future.
By pw herman (704), southampton on Sep 8, 16 9:09 AM
The article states it was kids !! Maybe it was a stupid adult ...
By Rhoffm01 (3), Riverhead on Sep 8, 16 9:32 AM
Kids? Based on what? Certainly possible, but, lots of this going on in Europe, may want to expand the scope of possible suspects.
By smacw (221), New York on Sep 8, 16 10:17 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By watchdog1 (401), Southampton on Sep 8, 16 11:48 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By toes in the water (539), southampton on Sep 8, 16 12:20 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By toes in the water (539), southampton on Sep 8, 16 12:21 PM
We have set up a gofundme page to help both these cemeteries begin to make repairs after this terrible event.

http://www.gofundme.com/2t9yfrrq
By Brockett Funeral Home (2), Southampton on Sep 9, 16 7:36 AM
Editor - any chance of updating the story to include this and help spread the word? Gofundme works best when people know about it!
By SH_Res (341), Southampton on Sep 9, 16 10:45 AM
1 member liked this comment
Hold on there, a State Insurance Fund is covering the repair cost.
By pw herman (704), southampton on Sep 9, 16 10:47 AM
Ah, is that so pw? The article didn't make it clear whether or not the insurance fund was going to be able to cover the costs, at least for SH Cemetery. It also said the fund will "help offset" the costs, which doesn't sound like it will completely cover them. Update from the Press would be appreciated so we can provide support if needed.

In the meanwhile, thanks to Brockett for trying to help after such a terrible event!
By SH_Res (341), Southampton on Sep 9, 16 11:09 AM
Oh, it be so alright.
Sep 10, 16 7:54 AM appended by pw herman
But do indeed feel free to immediately jump through any glass window with full force and no planned thought.
By pw herman (704), southampton on Sep 10, 16 7:54 AM
pw - chill out. I didn't mean that to be sassy, I was seriously asking if it was so. If the state insurance fund is not covering full costs (which the article implies), I'd be happy to help out given how awful this act was. I'm sure other people would be too. Your post made me think you might have more information on the situation.

Also, your attitude is extremely unnecessary and uncalled for when I was just trying to do a nice thing. If you think donating $25 to a gofundme campaign and ...more
By SH_Res (341), Southampton on Sep 10, 16 8:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
Very well said SH Rez ! No need for sassy comments regarding this article................
By toes in the water (539), southampton on Sep 10, 16 8:54 AM
1 member liked this comment
Very well said SH Rez ! No need for sassy comments regarding this article................
By toes in the water (539), southampton on Sep 10, 16 8:54 AM
Happy to donate money to this cause. My heart goes out to the families of those who's headstones were vandalize
By toes in the water (539), southampton on Sep 10, 16 8:51 AM
Sad that society is like this.
Before all the donations, wouldn't it be good to check if they have insurance? I'm all for helping if it is needed...
By knitter (870), Southampton on Sep 10, 16 5:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
Homeowners Insurance does in absolute fact cover damage to your cemetery plot.
By pw herman (704), southampton on Sep 11, 16 8:49 AM
Dear Whoever did this:

I am sure you're just a bunch of kids who were probably drinking and fooling around and getting into trouble. BUT...let me tell you a story.

My little brother died of leukemia. My parents had a tiny gravestone for him and a beautiful angel standing on top. WAIT...

Then, both my other brother and my father got sick with fatal illnesses at the same time. They were both bedridden and my mother was trying to take care of both of them. My dad was going ...more
By DianeR (3), Hampton bays on Sep 11, 16 6:54 PM
2 members liked this comment
DianeR, thank you for sharing your story as emotionally difficult as it was. You and your mom are in my heart.

Hopefully karma will treat these morons as kindly as they have treated the Gravestones they ruined. And the heartache they have caused.
By toes in the water (539), southampton on Sep 12, 16 10:20 PM
P.S. And if you want to make it right, go try to fix it. Better yet, go to the police and confess and get it off your chest. Then work to earn money to repair your damage...and learn from the lesson.
By DianeR (3), Hampton bays on Sep 11, 16 6:57 PM
1 member liked this comment
I am so happy TOES................. is going to donate money and that he let us know.
By watchdog1 (401), Southampton on Sep 12, 16 9:15 AM
1 member liked this comment
Toes was actually being a nice, empathetic person and nothing about his/her comment was self-righteous. Your unnecessary post just to denigrate Toes is what's wrong here.

We should be coming together when things like this happen...
By SH_Res (341), Southampton on Sep 12, 16 7:04 PM
1 member liked this comment
Too many toes spoil the broth.
By pw herman (704), southampton on Sep 13, 16 11:04 AM
LOL an noted
By toes in the water (539), southampton on Sep 13, 16 7:59 PM
Brocketts may be taking donations, but it was on channel 12 that Ken Rothwell and the OConnels staff went in and rolled up their sleeves to make the repairs.

Thanks, Ken & the O'Connells staff!
By Draggerman (668), Southampton on Sep 13, 16 7:43 AM
1 member liked this comment
Brocketts may be taking donations, but it was on channel 12 that Ken Rothwell and the OConnels staff went in and rolled up their sleeves to make the repairs.

Thanks, Ken & the O'Connells staff!
By Draggerman (668), Southampton on Sep 13, 16 7:44 AM
1 member liked this comment
What is wrong with you? It's a little unseemly for you to be turning this into some type of demented contest. How about this. You do your thing and another family will do their thing. It's called being a community. The tackiness of your behavior completely overshadows any work that your pals might be doing and actually should make people question their motivation.
By SlimeAlive (627), Southampton on Sep 13, 16 8:00 AM
1 member liked this comment
Traditionally in our community Brocketts handled the Southampton Cemetery burials while O'connell handled the Sacred Heart Cemetery burials, although its not always the case as both cemeteries are really interdenominational today. Interestingly enough, the adjacent location of both cemeteries led to the local old timers expression "When you die you go to Tuckahoe". Fortunately the damage can be resolved with some heavy lifting but the large cross monument needs a bit more attention. RIP again, one ...more
By pw herman (704), southampton on Sep 13, 16 8:35 AM
You don't think it's odd that 27East reported that Brocketts is raising money to repair monuments that are already repaired? News 12, news day and 1010 WINS reported that the repairs were made, 27East didn't report that.
By Draggerman (668), Southampton on Sep 14, 16 7:40 AM
Who's on first ???
By pw herman (704), southampton on Sep 14, 16 9:15 AM
1 member liked this comment
In only three days this campaign has incredibly surpassed our goal, but this was not only about financial assistance.
As of today our page has been visited 1,007 times, shared on FaceBook 153 times with countless comments of support and encouragement. That is what this campaign has been about from the start. The outpouring of support and care from the community has been remarkable and we did this together, turning a tragic event into something positive.
In speaking with both cemeteries, ...more
By Brockett Funeral Home (2), Southampton on Sep 13, 16 11:38 AM
Thanks to all who donated and for Ken and his staff for doing the repairs for free. Heard he also offered SH cemetery to do it for free also.
Both funerals homes service each cemetery...
By knitter (870), Southampton on Sep 14, 16 11:36 AM
1 member liked this comment
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