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Police: Vandals Desecrate Dozens Of Historic Graves In Easton, Conn.

EASTON, Conn. (CBSNewYork) -- Extensive damage to a historic cemetery has police searching for vandals.

Police counted 51 desecrated grave sites at Union Cemetery after the perpetrators got through doing damage early Saturday morning.

Some tombstones were toppled and pried from their anchorages. If the anchorage held, the stones, themselves, were snapped. Some broken into multiple pieces, police said.

"It could take us a couple of months to get this fixed, and that's if there's money to do it," Lisa Burkhardt of the Easton Historical Society told CBS 2's Lou Young.

The cemetery has been around as long as the town of Easton has existed.

Police said it took tremendous strength and time to cause that much damage.

"I'm speechless. I don't understand what motives people to do this kind of destruction in a cemetery. We can't fix all of these," Burkhardt told Young.

Union Cemetery is a popular destination for ghost hunters and paranormal thrill seekers. Nearby parking areas are closed at night to discourage nocturnal visitors.

"Heartbreaking. You come in here to see your families that passed away and you see damage," mourner Janet Springler told Young.

Even without vandals, preservationists had been facing the difficult task of keeping the aging stones intact.

"For many people, the vast majority of us, when we die, this is all that's left of us," Burkhardt said.

The repairs are estimated to cost more than $50,000.

This is just the latest in a recent string of cemetery vandalism across the Tri-State Area. Late last month, a body was stolen from a Pleasantville mausoleum. Vandals desecrated a mausoleum and gravestones on Staten Island in May. And thieves in Hicksville stole plaques and vases from cemetery plots back in April.

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