Members of the Evergreen Cemetery Association continued to pick up the pieces Monday, June 1, after close to 30 grave markers to vandalism over the weekend at the cemetery in northeast Brainerd.
“We are so disappointed that people feel that it is OK to do this,” said Dede Tollefson, Evergreen Cemetery executive director. “It is pretty sad.”
The Brainerd Police Department received a report about 3:30 p.m. Saturday of property damage at the cemetery. An officer responded and located 27 grave markers knocked over.
Tollefson said the grave makers knocked over were mostly in the southwest corner of the cemetery — a lower area not visible from the road that made it easier for the perpetrators to commit the criminal act.
Brainerd Police Chief Corky McQuiston said police have no information regarding the person or persons responsible for the property damage. Police assume it probably happened overnight between Friday and Saturday.
Tollefson said the grave markers are heavy and would take “several good-sized people” to push them off the monument base. She said she can’t speculate on who the culprits are, but said one beer can was found on the property.
“We haven’t had any vandalism here at the cemetery for many years,” Tollefson said.
The grave markers don’t appear to be damaged. Tollefson said the grave markers are made in pieces to prevent breakage in case of vandalism or if a tree would fall on them.
The association plans to contact family members of the grave markers that were vandalized. Tollefson said it may be difficult to contact all the families as some of the people were buried in that part of the cemetery a very long time ago, and it may not be part of their records any longer. If anyone has any questions or wants to see if one of the grave markers pushed over was part of their family, they may contact the cemetery at 218-829-5898.
Cemetery officials currently are calling companies to get an estimated cost to get the grave markers back upright.
“We are working on a plan to restore them to their original state,” Tollefson said.
Anyone with any information about the vandalism is asked to contact the police department at 218-829-2805.