UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. (KMOX) – Authorities in Missouri are investigating after more than 100 headstones were damaged early Monday morning at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, about eight miles northwest of downtown St. Louis.
University City Police Lt. Fredrick Lemons says investigators are looking at surveillance cameras to help determine who pushed over the headstones.
According to Karen Aroesty, regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, this is just the latest in a string of incidents.
“We’ve had a number of incidents reported with individuals and institutions in the region – things like going to restaurant and when they get the bill, there’s swastikas on it,” she says.
Aroesty says tension in the Jewish community is already running high following a string of bomb threats called in to Anti-Defamation League offices around the country.
Aroesty calls this a perfect opportunity for President Donald Trump to finally answer repeated calls issue a statement condemning such actions.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens posted a statement on Facebook late Monday night calling the vandalism “despicable” and “a cowardly act.”
Sen. Claire McCaskill also posted an opinion on social media regarding the wreckage.
And former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called the act “sad, wrong and disturbing.”
All Nations Church in University City is collecting donations and offering to match up to $500 to help repair any damage.
The cemetery’s executive director, Anita Feigenbaum, said on Facebook that clean up of the cemetery will require professional help.
“These monuments weigh thousands of pounds,” Feigenbaum writes. “Since the damage occurred in our oldest sections, we are taking donations to help with repairs that will be needed.”
The Chesed Shel Emeth Society’s official Facebook page said it is still assessing the damage:
“Many monuments are facing down and we won’t be able to read the names and see if there is any damage until we lift the stones. We want to minimize further damage and need to take the proper precautions.”
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