Corry’s Veterans of Foreign Wars post is upping the ante to nab the people that vandalized the graves of veterans at Pine Grove Cemetery a week ago.
Vandals knocked over tombstones, broke the handles off about 20 American flags that marked veterans’ graves, and then threw around the flag markers between 4 p.m. June 5 and 9 a.m. June 6, Corry City Police said.
VFW Post 264 is offering a $500 reward for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the vandalism.
“We want the culprits who did this to be caught,” said VFW Quartermaster Bill Raupach. “It’s disgusting what they are doing.”
The total reward for bringing the suspects to justice now stands at $1,000.
The Pine Grove Association, which oversees the 19-acre cemetery, already has offered its own $500 reward.
In addition to desecrating the flags and markers, association President Roger Butters said the vandals also tipped over two obelisks — heavy stone monuments that serve as grave markers.
“We would like to catch the people doing this,” Pine Grove Association President Roger Butters said in announcing the organization’s $500 reward last week.
The VFW post received about 1,600 flags and markers from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs this year that were placed on the graves of veterans at Pine Grove and other area cemeteries just before the Memorial Day holiday.
The VFW has not offered rewards for vandalism in the recent past, Raupach said. But when officers met last week to discuss the Pine Grove situation, they didn’t hesitate to put $500 on the table to coerce someone to come forward with information.
“We voted for this unanimously,” Raupach said. “Hands down, we said, ‘Let’s do it.’”
While Raupach suspects young people are responsible for the cemetery vandalism, adults also may be indirectly to blame, he said.
“Kids don’t have any discipline any more. They aren’t being brought up the right way and aren’t being taught right or wrong,” he said. “Where are the parents?”
Anyone with information is asked to call city police at 664-4711.