Vandals sneaked into an upstate New York cemetery Tuesday night and knocked over more than 100 headstones, police say.
Now, officials said, it will cost several thousand dollars to clean up the mess at Highland Cemetery. Crews worked all day Thursday to assess the damage and used plot maps to identify the stones. Cemetery officials are also notifying families that the graves were defiled.
Police said the vandals also snapped several American flags and tore up family mementos placed at graves. In all, they caused an estimated $40,000 in damage.
"It's disgraceful," said Lt. James Janso. "I've been a cop 23 years here and this is probably one of the worst things I've seen."
Lee Tobiassen came to the cemetery Thursday and found headstones belonging to her sister and another relative overturned.
"I hope to God they catch them," Tobiassen said.
The cemetery will begin cleaning up next weekend and is relying on help from volunteers to pick up and fix the headstones, some of which weigh more than 2,000 pounds. Cleanup will take several days, cemetery officials said.
The cemetery has between 5,000 and 6,000 plots, and is not protected by a gate at night.