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Surveillance video shows suspect destroying tombstones at the centuries-old Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Flatbush

Vandal caught on camera causing damage at historic Brooklyn cemetery
Vandal caught on camera causing damage at historic Brooklyn cemetery 02:00

NEW YORK -  The cemetery of an historic Flatbush church was vandalized early Tuesday morning, according to the NYPD.

Surveillance video of the incident, provided by the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Flatbush, shows a person walking around the gravestones. Their behavior is strange, as they're seen jumping, toppling over, and stumbling around. Suddenly, they're seen on-camera kicking the tombstones to the ground. 

De Lafayette Awkward, pastor of the house of worship, says he's struggling to understand why someone would do this. 

"Nobody in their right mind would just vandalize a cemetery," he says.

Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Flatbush

Some of the graves at this church date back to the 1700s. According to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, this is the last resting pace of most of the members of early Dutch families of Flatbush.

"This cemetery has been here a long time and to have this happen is really sad," Awkward says. "So we are just really trying to figure out what to do, the next step."

The pastor tells CBS2 that while the surveillance video captures the incident, you still can't see the identity of the vandal. Police say they have a report on file, but their only description of the suspect is that they were wearing very dark clothes.

Neighbors tell CBS2's Hannah Kliger that they can't imagine what was going through that person's mind. 

"That's terrible," says Shirley Peart, adding she's never seen anything like this in the 43 years she lived in the neighborhood. 

Matthew Charles adds, "There's plenty of things to do that are constructive instead of vandalizing something like this."

Police say a total of 17 tombstones were broken. They're still searching for a suspect. Right now, the NYPD is not investigating this as a hate crime. 

Have a story idea or tip in Brooklyn? Email Hannah by CLICKING HERE.

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