The Edmonton Police Service is investigating a shocking overnight vandalism spree at St. Michael’s Cemetery in north Edmonton.
Approximately 66 monuments were damaged – with many tombstones toppled or shattered, urns destroyed, and many personal memorial items strewn across the grounds. Damage to the monuments and costs for restoration are estimated between $50,000 and $75,000.
“This is a cowardly, disrespectful, and senseless crime,” says Const. Liam Watson with EPS Northeast Division. “There’s no rhyme or reason to this mindless vandalism, which appears to be random, and possibly the work of several destructive individuals who had nothing better to do.”
Staff at St. Michael’s Cemetery, which is located at 138 Avenue and 82 Street, reported the vandalism to police on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. The vandalism to the northwest corner of the grounds is believed to have occurred sometime between the evening of April 8 and the morning of April 9.
“Cemeteries are filled with heritage and are sacred sanctuaries for the living and the dead,” says Marc Turgeon, Manager of St. Michael’s Cemetery. “Because they’re the final resting place for our loved ones, their desecration can be devastating to the community. It’s truly saddening that families have to experience this kind of pain after already suffering the loss of a loved one.”
St. Michael’s Cemetery staff are in the process of assessing the damage, up-righting and repairing the stones wherever possible, and contacting the survivors of the deceased whose plots were violated. The plots that were affected were purchased between 1965 and 1972. If you wish to check on the status of a monument, please contact the St. Michael’s Cemetery Office at 780-424-5493.
Police are asking those responsible, or anyone with knowledge of this crime, to come forward. If you saw anything suspicious in the area, or have information that would be helpful to investigators, please contact the Edmonton Police Service by calling 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.tipsubmit.com/start.htm.