An investigation is underway after vandals toppled over headstones at the graveyard of a historic Philadelphia church, causing $10,000 in damage.
The vandalism was discovered at St. Luke’s Memorial Episcopal Church on Welsh Road in the Bustleton section of the city Tuesday around 10 a.m. Parishioners say 20 headstones were toppled while three other headstones were moved. They believe the vandalism occurred between 9:30 p.m. Monday and 10 a.m. Tuesday.
Some of the toppled headstones belonged to the parents and grandparents of parishioner John Litzke.
“I can’t talk,” Litzke said while on the verge of tears. “It’s just sad.”
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The church was founded in 1861 at the start of the Civil War. The headstones include a father and son who died in World War I. After more than 150 years, it’s the first time someone has vandalized the burial ground of the church.
“I was speechless and heartbroken at the same time,” Tom Truesdale, another parishioner, said. “I don’t understand how people could do something to a churchyard. A graveyard.”
Parishioners say it’ll cost more than $10,000 to make repairs. If you have any information on the incident, please call Philadelphia Police.