LONGMONT, Colo. - For the fourth time since the beginning of July, headstones are lying on the ground after vandals attacked Longmont's Mountain View Cemetery.
Cemetery manager Tracey George said the attack that occurred Saturday night was the worst so far, with more headstones or statues damaged than in the previous three attacks combined.
A Civil War monument donated to the cemetery in 1907 by the Women's Relief Corps was the tallest and most expensive item vandalized this weekend. The statue's base is engraved with the words, "In memory of our honored dead."
"Everything here is hand carved and to find anybody who does that kind of trade anymore is going to be hard," George said. "We figure it's going to be somewhere between $20,000 to $50,000 just to replace this statue."
Shoe marks on the pedestal appear to indicate one or more people climbed up to topple the statue.
An annual Memorial Day ceremony is usually held beside the statue.
"It's really disheartening that they actually tore up our military stones. That’s probably the hardest thing that they hit this time," George said.
Her brother, Dan Dunston, is the assistant manager.
"My grandfather is buried here, and my father," he said. "Our family has managed this for 26 years. Everything here is part of our family."
He said it will take days to set the headstones upright, and some will need to be lifted with front end loaders.
"I'd love the kids who did this to come help put them back up," he said. "Let them find out what real work is."
Long rows of headstones, some weighing up to two tons, now lie toppled in rows like dominos.
"I have no idea what they were thinking to do this to our cemetery," George said.
George said that 51 stones were damaged in an attack on July 31, 20 were damaged on July 18 and eight were damaged during the 4th of July holiday weekend.