"Green Lawn Cemetery is counting on someone having a conscience — or at least, needing an easy $1,000."
"The cash reward is being offered for anyone who turns over information leading to the arrest of vandals who’ve crept into the historic cemetery after dark and caused more than $1.25 million in damage within the past two years. Why? For laughs? Out of boredom? If these losers are seeking attention, they’ve got it. But that notoriety is going to help them be caught and go to prison.
These vandals were “vindictive,” Green Lawn Cemetery Trustee Randy Rogers said. “They’ll pick up a tablet and smash it on top of another tablet.” They shattered obelisks and pushed statues from pedestals.
The damage is extensive and permanent. Historic items cannot be made as good as new ... or “old,” in this case. One victim of the vandals was a monument to Gustavus Swan, an Ohio Supreme Court justice who organized Ohio’s early banking system. He died in 1860, the year Abe Lincoln was elected president. The vandals demolished a life-size bust of Swan, an artwork that will cost tens of thousands of dollars to remake.
Rogers started a GoFundMe.com page about a month ago to ask the public for help with the restoration; as of early Friday, it had $475 in pledges toward a $100,000 goal.
A cemetery nearly 170 years old holds a lot of history. Those buried in Green Lawn include Samuel Bush, a forebear of two U.S. presidents; Ohio Gov. and U.S. Sen. John Bricker; World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker; and humorist James Thurber.
The oldest sections of the cemetery took the brunt of the damage. On Aug. 14, vandals damaged 109 monuments in one night. On Nov. 26, the most recent rampage, they pushed over 30 to 40 markers, causing up to $45,000 in damage.
Someone knows or suspects the identity of the goons who are desecrating gravesites. The nonprofit Green Lawn Cemetery Association has turned to Central Ohio Crime Stoppers and the public for help. Tipsters can remain anonymous by calling 614-461-8477, or going to stopcrime.org.
The crime is felony vandalism, but it also was an attack on Ohio’s cultural heritage. These despicable thugs deserve the full weight of the law."