Alleged grave marker vandal caught

Friday May 20, 2011

PITTSFIELD -- Police say they've caught one of the people responsible for desecrating more than 200 headstones and monuments last month at Pittsfield Cemetery.

John Lundy, 18, of Pittsfield, was arrested Thursday and charged with 209 counts of gravestone vandalism, a felony, according to Police Capt. John Mullin. Lundy is scheduled to be arraigned today in Central Berkshire County Court.

Mullin said police were close to making two more arrests in the case.

The vandalism of the headstones, mostly from the 19th and early 20th centuries, took place sometime between April 25 and 26. Most of the toppled stones, some of which weigh upward of 3,000 pounds, were located along a half-mile swath of the cemetery's East Lawn and Forest Mountain sections.

Detectives Kim Bertelli and Thomas Dawley worked hard on the investigation and were able to come up with the suspects, according to Mullin. Officer Darren Cowell handled the initial investigation, while Investigator John Bassi documented the destruction.

"The police did a great job," said Gregory Price, the cemetery's superintendent.

Price said he and his staff put forth a lot of time and effort to repair the damage. The private, non-sectarian cemetery on Wahconah Street has four full-time and four part-time employees.

Price said the goal is to get the cemetery back to normal before Memorial Day. The damage estimate, which includes repairs, labor and replacement costs, is $15,000.

In addition, 35 American flags were uprooted and strewn about. The flags were some that volunteers, many of whom are veterans, place at the graves of U.S. servicemen in advance of Memorial Day. After the vandalism, the flags were replaced and replanted.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
or (413)496-6249.


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