Vandals Knock Over Nearly 50 Tombstones In Albertville

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ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Nearly 50 tombstones, some more than a century old, were knocked over in Albertville this weekend.  Chunks of marble are strewn about the graves at Memory Hill Cemetery.

Albertville Police are investigating the vandalism that happened Saturday night.  Cemetery workers say the cleanup means a lot of extra work for them, but they're more upset for the families.

Albertville Cemetery Superintendent Danny Smith got a call Sunday morning about the damage at Memory Hill.  It's one of four city cemeteries he oversees.

"We came up here and we called the mayor and then the police came up and we went through here and estimate about 40 or 45 stones knocked over or busted," said Smith.

The cemetery has had some vandalism in the past.

"In 2008, we had some vandalism but it wasn't quite as bad as this," said Smith. "Had a couple stones knocked over and mostly vases kicked over, but this is the worst I've seen."

Smith says the vandals caused much more damage than the tornado that came through the cemetery in April 2010.  That storm spared the gravestone of a 15-year-old boy killed in the 1908 cyclone.  The vandals were more violent.

"It's just unreal.  It's just uncalled for," said Smith.

"It's just plain disgusting.  It makes you mad, right, in a way," said David Currey.  "But in a way you feel sorry for the people that did it and also for the families that's going to have to reconstruct some of this."

Currey has family members buried at Memory Hill -- some from the 1800s.

"This does not need to happen, especially in this day and time when we've got so many people overseas in Afghanistan," said Currey.  Some of these people that these tombstones on the ground are veterans."

Cemetery workers spent Monday trying to match pieces of gravestones with the plots where they belong, documenting what's where, as they begin to clean up.

"A lot of unusual work, work we don't necessarily need to be doing," said Smith.  "Could be a lot worse."

If you have any information on the vandalism at Memory Hill Cemetery, please call the Albertville Police Department at (256) 891-8274.