Reward increased in cemetery vandalism case

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Fund now stands at $1,900

By Tom Wilmoth

    The reward amount for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved with damaging more than 40 headstones at a Bedford cemetery has increased to $1,900.

    This week four additional donations were made to the original $500 reward that had been offered.
    Those who caused the damage will likely face Class 6 felony property damage charges.
    City workers discovered the damage on May 2 at the Oakwood, Longwood and Greenwood Cemetery. Included in the damaged headstones was one at the grave of one of the Bedford Boys killed on June 6, 1944, during the Normandy invasion. That grave stone belonged to John L. Wilkes a master sergeant with Bedford’s Company A, who died in heavy sniper fire at the water line as Company A struck the beach at 6:30 a.m. on D-Day.
    Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2157 Commander John Delong advised the Bedford Police Department that the post wanted to add $500 to the current reward amount and Southern Regional Commander of the 29th Division Association, Mickey Johnson, added $100 to the reward fund. American Legion Post 54 added $300 and an anonymous donor also added $500.
    Bedford Police Chief Jim Day said the reward is for information that leads to                              the  arrest  and   conviction  of anyone involved with the vandalism.
    “I know they’re following up some leads,” Day said of the investigation. “So far nothing of substance has been received from the community as far as valuable leads. We’re still soliciting leads.
    “We hope we will find who did the vandalism so that they can be charged and potentially have to pay for all of the repairs,” he added.
    About 20 of the headstones were put back in place by workers with the city public works department. Day said the remaining headstones will have to be put up by a company the city hires to do the work.