Morristown police search for vandals who damaged Revolutionary War-era headstones

MORRISTOWN, Ind. – Police in Morristown are searching for vandals who damaged Revolutionary War-era headstones in a cemetery.

Officers were dispatched to Davis-Bennett Cemetery on Sunday around 4:30 p.m. on a report of multiple damaged tombstones.

The caretaker at the cemetery told police 22 headstones were pushed over, broken or damaged by impact.

This is the second time in the last year the cemetery has been vandalized.

Graves in the Davis Cemetery date back as far as the late 1700’s, according to Morristown Police Deputy Chief, Brad Trittipo. One particular pair of damage headstones belongs to a husband and wife; the husband was a veteran of the American Revolutionary War.

"We see it as highly disrespectful," Trittipo said. "It’s a cemetery that has been here a long time, essentially since the beginning of the state of Indiana."

The cemetery was once two. The Davis side has always been near what is now the Morristown Town Park. The Bennett side used to be located along a county road but was relocated to the Davis site in the last ten years.

Hanover Township Trustee Shirley Shepherdson said it has made maintaining the cemetery easier with the two put together.

She and police are looking to lock a gate that keeps people from entering the cemetery and installing permanent cameras in the area.

Trittipo said visitors would see a sign on the fence about who to contact to get access to the cemetery.

Police do have mobile cameras around town, but with a limited number, police move them frequently through town. There was not a camera at the cemetery when it was vandalized.

The owners of Greenfield Granite have told police they would donate their time and resources to make the necessary repairs.

Police said they still want the cost tallied to correctly charge those responsible once they're caught.

Trittipo said anyone causing $750 to $50,000 in damages to a cemetery can face a level 6 felony. If the damage is higher, the consequence is a level 5 felony.

"It costs $125 an hour to repair the headstones," said Trittipo.

It could take two or three days to have the headstones back in their proper place.

Shepherdson wants those responsible to use their hands to help fix the area.

"They should have to put some elbow grease into something," she said. "They should have to do something that makes them know this was not a fun little treat you took."

Anyone with information is urged to call the Morristown Police Department at 765-763-6748 or the Shelby County Sheriff Department at 317-398-6661.