Three teenagers were arrested over the weekend for allegedly destroying 90 to 95 gravestones at Jewish cemeteries in Connecticut, causing approximately $20,000 worth of damage.
Hartford Police began investigating the case in mid-October, and only recently received a tip that three teens living in the neighborhood were responsible for the crimes.
“They basically attacked the defenseless and the emotions of those survivors,” Leonard Holtz with Congregation Ados Israel told NBC Connecticut. “(The arrests) don't lessen the pain for people who have had their monuments desecrated.”
Dozens of headstones are still toppled over at the Tower Avenue Jewish Cemeteries.
Holtz had locked the gates here for weeks to keep the suspects out, but visitors were still uneasy.
“It has taken away the feeling that you can go here with peace of mind,” Holtz explained.
Hartford Police said that the suspects may have destroyed the sacred ground while they were using it as a shortcut to a nearby park.
“It's a crime that inflicts pain and suffering on other families,” Holtz added.
He wanted the suspects held accountable, and to understand the damage here wasn’t just aesthetic.
“A cemetery should be a sacred place, holy ground, this should never happen,” Holtz added.
At first police investigated the case as a hate crime, but after talking to the teens, they said this was no longer the issue. The names of the suspects will not be released.