Wednesday, April 23 2014 5:20 PM EDT2014-04-23 21:20:41 GMT
Brandon Montrece Brooks has been arrested. Police say he was stopped on Interstate 80 at approximately 2:46 p.m. on April 23, 2014 by the Illinois State Police in LaSalle County. He was taken into custody without incident.More >>
Brandon Montrece Brooks has been arrested. Police say he was stopped on Interstate 80 at approximately 2:46 p.m. on April 23, 2014 by the Illinois State Police in LaSalle County. He was taken into custody without incident. More >>
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It's one of the largest and oldest cemeteries in Iowa - dating back to 1852.
But right now, it's not safe.
"They just go down one row at a time. They pick a row and topple everything there."
This is the description of the description of the vandalism at Springdale Cemetery from the Superintendent, Darrell Mueller.
He's been doing this for 33 years.
He says he's seen vandalism here before - but nothing like this.
"There's no rhyme or reason. It's just whatever, big/small, old/new, it doesn't seem to make much of a difference," Mueller says.
Mueller says that over the last month - someone or a group of people - have been coming here over night and tipping over 5-10 gravestone - every night.
Some of them have been cracked and damaged.
Some of them worth thousands of dollars.
"It's a pain and it's getting frustrating, ya know?," Mueller says. "It's just an every morning occurrence. You just never quite know."
The crimes have been occurring in one of the oldest sections of the cemetery - some of the graves dating back to the early 1900's.
Now, police say they are ready to find who ever is defacing the graves and frankly, they are frustrated they haven't already.
Captain Bill Greenwalt of the Clinton PD says this is something that has to stop.
"It's such a disrespect to those who have past and to the families to those who are buried in the Springdale Cemetery," Greenwalt says.
He also explains that the cemetery itself makes it tough to catch the culprit.
But that doesn't mean they aren't trying.
"With the layout of the cemetery being very large, it's difficult," the police captain explains. "We've increased the patrols. We've asked the citizens for any information they have on people coming into the cemetery at odd times."
But, as if the vandalism wasn't enough, police say some vandals also took two large bronze doors from a mausoleum.
Doors that weighed 500 pounds a piece - and valued at over $10,000.
"The average person would probably assume that in the same location, that criminal activity is probably related but the fact that vandalism and theft is two separate incidents - it's tough to say at this point," Greenwalt says, explaining whether the two crimes could be connected.
But no matter who's responsible - those in charge of caring for the cemetery just want the crimes to stop.
"It angers you, it frustrates you," says Superintendent Mueller. "You just wonder if it's ever going to stop sometimes."