Vandalism at Hollywood Cemetery causes $200K worth of damage, Richmond police chief says

Police need help finding those responsible
Updated: Mar. 15, 2021 at 4:40 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond police are investigating vandalism at Hollywood Cemetery after tombstones were toppled over the weekend.

The Richmond police chief gave an update on the vandalism early Monday, march 15, saying more than $200,000 worth of damage was caused.

“That includes what appears to be using a sledgehammer to knock over headstones and using black spray paint to spray paint some of the headstones as well with graffiti,” said Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith.

Smith also didn’t reveal how many suspects they’re looking for or how many graves were damaged.

“Regardless of where the grave is or who’s grave it is, that is something I don’t believe the citizens of Richmond can tolerate,” he said. “It’s a place for loved ones and family to come visit, not for us to come investigate crimes.”

Photos show toppled grave markings in the cemetery’s President’s Circle area, where Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler are buried. The presidents’ graves were not damaged.

However, the graves that were damaged did not have Confederacy markings.

Smith also says there’s no security camera footage from this incident.

Broken grave markings lay in Hollywood Cemetery.
Broken grave markings lay in Hollywood Cemetery.(WWBT Viewer)

Kenneth Harlow, who was visiting the President’s Circle, said he’s sad to see the damage that was left behind.

“It’s heartbreaking that it comes to this point,” he said.

Harlow also believes this situation calls for change.

“To me, it symbolizes hate,” Harlow said. “I know we’re in tough times and I know we have a lot going on but unity is when we come together.”

A statement from the cemetery’s Board of Directors and management stated they are aware of the vandalism.

“A police report has been filed and the matter is under investigation at this time,” the statement said.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney released a statement regarding the vandalism, calling it “morally wrong.”

“This weekend’s desecration at Hollywood Cemetery is morally wrong,” Stoney said. “Disturbing final resting places is contemptible, criminal and will not be tolerated.”

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact the cemetery at 804-648-8501.

This is a developing story.

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