Two juveniles arrested for cemetery vandalism

Published 3:39 pm Friday, July 6, 2018

Two boys have been arrested in a recent case of vandalism at the Rome-Proctorville Cemetery.

The juveniles, both aged 15 and from the Rome-Proctorville area, were arrested on Friday morning by Lawrence County Sheriff’s detective Brad Layman and Task Force member Tyler Lawless. The boys are housed in the Lawrence County Juvenile Detention Center on charges of delinquency by vandalism. Their case will be heard in the Probate Juvenile Court of Judge David Payne at a later date. The names of the two male juveniles have not been released due to the ages of the accused.

Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless said his officers worked very hard on the case. He added that the suspects were found with help from the public and by reviewing footage from video surveillance cameras in the area in and around the cemetery.

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“This was a senseless act that is very disrespectful,” Lawless said. “I am proud of my staff and the public coming together to resolve this crime.”

Rome-Proctorville Cemetery caretaker Ron Jenkins discovered the vandalism on Friday, June 29, while he was doing a perimeter check of the grounds. When he saw the first knocked over gravestone, he assumed a bad driver had hit it. Then he found more damage including 26 gravestones knocked off their bases.

“From what I saw, they started in the garden area, tearing up and destroying all of the flood lights,” Jenkins said on Monday. “And then they went straight out from there grabbing people’s flowers and vases, throwing them everywhere, and then began knocking down headstones throughout the cemetery.

Jenkins believes the damage was done on the evening of Thursday, June 28 and “it probably took them a few hours to cause all of this damage.”

The estimate for the damage is in the area of $2,500.

Crews from Lawson Monument Company in Huntington, West Virginia, were repairing some of the damaged headstones on Monday. However, the old part of the cemetery, where several others were damaged, is maintained by a separate fund.