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Vandals Hit Staten Island Cemetery, Residents In Shock

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) -- A Staten Island woman unleashed a flood of emotion when she and her son saw what vandals had done to her parents' grave at St. Mary's Cemetery on Staten Island.

"I can't believe this, I cant believe this, every time I look at this I cant believe this," said Catherine Smith, of Dongan Hills

Symbols and words of devil worship were written on a mausoleum, along with vulgar language scrawled on the grave of a nun. The damage was first noticed by a caretaker on Monday.

Jean Barresi told CBS 2's Dick Brennan that she checked her family's plot after hearing about the vandalism.

"There's got to be a lot of unhappiness in the world to make people do an ugly thing like this," she said.

The cemetery is open from 8:00 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon, but it is not protected by any kind of gates, so vandals can attack at any hour.

One resident suggested putting a gate up with a lock.

I think what they need to do is put a gate on it, lock it, but keep it open for reasonable hours," said Joe Graffo.

The cemetery said that it will pay for repairs to the vandalized head stones, but that has done very little to settle the emotions of some residents.

"If I come here tomorrow with a flower, it's like I'm putting down a dead flower with this picture here," said Catherine Smith.

The NYPD has launched an investigation, they have not made any arrests yet. The cemetery is consulting with police on ways to improve security.

Why would somebody vandalize a cemetery? Share your theory in our comments section below...

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