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Dozens of gravestones toppled, broken in Lewiston cemetery

Family with plots at St. Peter's Cemetery called the vandalism 'disgraceful.'

LEWISTON, Maine — Gravestones mark the final resting place of family's loved ones. They're symbols of honor and remembrance. That's why people in Lewiston are disheartened to see dozens of headstones broken or knocked over at St. Peter's Cemetery, in an apparent act of vandalism. 

"It's just plain disgraceful. It just bothers me tremendously," Roger Charest, who has several family members buried in the cemetery, said.  

His daughter, Rose Charest, added, "It's just wrong. I don't understand what pleasure they got in doing it."

The director of St. Peter's Cemetery told NEWS CENTER Maine he believes this happened sometime in September, not over Halloween weekend. He also said the cemetery is working with the Lewiston Police Department to determine exactly what happened and what can be done to ensure it doesn't happen again. 

At St. Peter's, like most cemeteries, families purchase the plots from the cemetery. That means those families are responsible for fixing the damage.

Cemetery officials said they're working to reach out to families who own the plots, but with some of the sites being quite old, contact information is not always current. 

Rose Charest said she's hopeful good samaritans will step up to help repair the damage. "Maybe somebody, in the kindness of their heart ... [could] come in with some equipment and at least pull them upright, because otherwise, they'll just lay here. And, to me, it's just wrong."

Both Rose and Roger Charest said one free thing people can do to help is teach respect. 

"Respect of property," Roger Charest said. "And this is more than property. This is for a lifetime."

If you believe your family plot may have been impacted by this vandalism, you can find contact information for St. Peter's Cemetery here.

NEWS CENTER Maine has reached out several times, but the Lewiston Police Department has not said if it's investigating this apparent act of vandalism.

If the damage is more than $1,000, defacing a gravestone is a felony charge. It may be met with fines or jail time. 

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