Created: 06/18/2014 11:37 PM WNYT.com
By: Dan Levy
TROY - Troy Police are searching for suspects in a crime that has angered people far beyond the city limits. It's a disturbing crime against generations of victims, and it involves vandalism at St. John's Cemetery in Lansingburgh, committed sometime during the week leading up to Father's Day.
So much for that peaceful resting place image that everyone expects and everyone deserves at an old Catholic burying ground. Instead of the sanctity and solace that are characteristic of any cemetery, St. John's, which first began receiving burials in the years immediately following the Civil War, tumbled tombstones and crushed grave markers are now littering the manicured hillside.
"I talk to my mother and father all the time," said Michael Dividdio, of Lansingburgh, who has about twenty loved ones buried at St. John's, "I come to see them and to do this is just a shame that people would do this. How many other things can kids do today?"
Dividdio says he's certain that many people were involved, because of the size and density of the stones, some of them weighing more than a thousand pounds.
Among the thousands of people buried at St. John's are numerous military veterans who served in every American war from the Civil War to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
U.S. army private John Ingram, who served in World War II and died in 1991, had his grave stone knocked over and then replaced, but his mother's stone right beside it, was still toppled in the freshly cut grass.
Also directly adjacent to some desecrated graves, although untouched by vandals, was the final resting place of Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Peter Buenette.
"It's a very sensitive and gut-wrenching issue," says Troy Councilman Jim Gordon, "To me it's one of the filthiest things a human being can do to another human being is to desecrate someone's grave."
Gordon says he too is convinced many people are involved. He's also happy to see people checking up on the property, not to mention a beefed up police presence until the culprits are caught.
"A lot of the vandalism has seemingly taken place on this hillside that you can't see from the road," Gordon points out, "it's also in close proximity to that bike path."
Gordon says a person in the monument business has contacted him and has offered his services to help repair the damaged grave markers.
What he's really hoping to see is police catch who ever is responsible so that they can be made to pay the price -- which includes the financial cost.