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Graves Vandalized in South Bethlehem Cemetery

Black and white spray paint was used to paint what police believe are gang symbols on tombstones and mausoleums at St. Michael's Cemetery on E. Fourth Street.

 

Vandals have damaged two mausoleums and several tombstones in St. Michael’s Cemetery in South Bethlehem, according to city police.

The most recent desecration of graves at the landmark cemetery on E. Fourth Street was done with black and white spray paint. Likely gang symbols are what were left behind, police said.

The cemetery has been a frequent target of vandals in the past, according to The Express Times.

St. Michael’s Cemetery dates back to the 19th Century and contains primarily the remains of Eastern Europeans who came to toil at Bethlehem Steel, according to the story.

Famed Depression-era photographer Walker Evans took photographs of the cemetery with the blast furnaces looming in the background.

Family members were initially responsible for maintaining the graves, but over the years the cemetery fell into disrepair, until volunteers started to maintain it.

Now, even many of the volunteers have gotten too old to continue the work, according to The Express-Times. Anyone interested in volunteering to maintain the cemetery can call Holy Infancy Church.

Anyone with information about the recent vandalism is asked to call Bethlehem Police at 610-865-7187.

Staberdearth January 11, 2013 at 11:36 AM
Pause and reflect for a moment when a society is so bereft of morality that it vandalizes and destroys the last will and testament and vestiges of the dead. Then realize that this low can go even lower...and does.
Dana Grubb January 11, 2013 at 07:21 PM
I read elsewhere that the city is considering using its graffiti-buster power sprayer to clean off the graffiti left by these vandals. I know it's well-intentioned, but they should NOT consider doing that because of the potentially irreparable damage that could be caused to the aging grave stones and mausoleums.

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