By Linda Dillman
Vandals recently sprayed painted graffiti on several tombstones in a pair of Canal Winchester cemeteries.
According to the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, between Nov. 9 and Nov. 11, caretakers of the Arlington Field of Honor at 300 Winchester Pike and Union Grove Cemetery at 400 Winchester Pike reported property damage involving dozens of grave markers and a mausoleum.
“At both cemeteries, they spray painted gang symbols and profanity on gravestones, knocked a grave marker off its foundation and really marked up the mausoleum at Arlington,” said Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Marian Devault. “They don’t understand or care that their actions involve someone’s family member. I’ve been here two years and this is the first time I’ve seen something like this happen in Canal Winchester.”
Devault said that while the majority of the vandalism involved gang symbols, she does not believe it was the work of actual gang members.
“It may not be the gang itself, but local kids tagging the cemeteries,” said Devault. “Most of the damage took place primarily at the back of the property.”
The Arlington Field of Honor, director and caretaker reported the incident occurred sometime from Nov. 10 to Nov. 11 between 3:30 p.m. and 10:30 a.m. She told the responding officer Jerrel D’Amore the mausoleum was spray painted, but no physical evidence remained on scene. There was no video surveillance available.
An incident report was filed by D’Amore at the same time after interviewing the Union Grove groundskeeper regarding similar activities taking place between Nov. 9 and Nov. 10. The groundskeeper reported unknown subjects spray painted numerous headstones and no physical evidence was left at the scene.
The incidents are under investigation by the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Department.
“If it’s kids who did this and they are found, they will be charged with vandalism and we’ll make their parents pay for the clean-up,” stated Devault.
Cemetery representatives could not be reached for comment.