By ALICIA LEONARD
During the month of August, around 30 headstones in Magnolia Cemetery have been pushed over or broken and the culprits still remain at large. Averaging about 10 at a time, the last damage done to the headstone was over the weekend of August 23.
Capt. Mark Weeks of the DeFuniak Springs Police Department (DFSPD) said, “We have a few leads and are working those, but the community maybe able to help up fill in the blanks and stop this terrible crime.”
Weeks said that they believe the vandalism is most probably being perpetrated by juveniles. “There is no gain in this type of behavior, so we believe it may very well be some youths who are doing this. They need to understand that this is a very serious issue and this type of crime is considered a felony and we will, upon catching them, request felony charges when presenting their case to the State Attorney’s office.”
According to Weeks, the DFSPD believes the destruction is going on after dark and the culprits are climbing over the fence. The community can help stop this with a call to Crime Stoppers or the DFSPD with any information. Weeks said it’s been hard to catch the culprits due to not being able to have an officer watch the grounds around the clock. “We are doing regular patrols and watching the area closely, but it’s very hard to have an eye there 24 hours a day and that is where the community can help to stop this,” said weeks. “If they want to call Crime Stoppers or our office, that would be greatly appreciated. Crime Stoppers offers an award for information that leads to the arrest of these vandals and you can remain anonymous,” Weeks concluded.
Anyone with information that could help police apprehend these criminals can contact the Walton County chapter of Crime Stoppers at 1-866-718-8477 or the office of the City Marshal and DeFuniak Springs Police at 850-892-8511.