FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — Late last week, vandals toppled seven headstones at St. Stephen Cemetery in Framingham. Most of the headstones were pushed to the ground, but at least one was twisted at its base.
The incident was reported to Framingham Police Saturday morning. So far, Framingham Police have no suspects.
“This is someone who wanted to cause some damage. And it’s hurtful to the families involved, and it’s something that is hurtful to the community,” said Framingham Police Lt Rachel Mickens.
This is not the first time vandals have hit St. Stephen Cemetary. In October, 25 headstones marking the graves of 25 Sisters of St. Joseph were toppled in the same area as the most recent act of vandalism.
At St. Stephen Catholic Church the two incidents are sparking concern that the cemetery is being targeted for hate crimes.
“My concern is that this may become, what a lot of people think it is, a hate crime and that people are getting into the trend of going into cemeteries and feeling entitled to do this kind of damage to the stones and not allowing people to rest in peace,” said Fr. Francisco Anzoategui of St. Stephen Catholic Church.
According to its website, burials at St. Stephen Cemetery date back to 1887. Father Anzoategui is considering installing a video surveillance system at the cemetery.
But he hopes awareness about vandalism at St. Stephen Cemetery will help bring an end to it.
“A lot of people are thinking that this is certainly a hate crime. And we hope that it comes to an end. That the people who perpetrated this damage have a change of mind. We are praying for that,” Fr. Anzoategui told me.
If you have any information about these acts of vandalism, you are urged to contact Framingham Police.
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