Vandalized Hartford headstone repaired - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Vandalized Hartford headstone repaired

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Just days after police arrested three teenagers for a rash of cemetery vandalism in Hartford's north end, the largest and heaviest tombstone, which was tipped over, was put back into place at no cost Friday morning.

Following the vandalism, the officials at the cemetery were worried that the headstone was just too large and heavy to find equipment able to move it.

However, a Hartford police captain reached out to a local construction company and they were willing to move the object.

"That was amazing, we couldn't have asked for more," said Catherine Fischer Schwartz of Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford watching the stone be raised up.

Last month, vandals pushed over the towering headstone, which is estimated between 5,000 and 6,000 pounds.

During the police investigation, the detectives obtained information from community service Officer Teresa Velez for finding the three boys, who were between the ages of 14 and 15 and live in the neighborhood.

The teenagers were arrested Monday after police said they knocked over nearly 100 headstones at a number of Jewish cemeteries at the corner of Waverly Street and Tower Avenue between Oct. 12 and 19.

However, cemetery officials still had no way to raise the heavy headstone. That is until  Hartford Police Captain James Bernier, who is in charge of the area where the cemeteries are located, got involved.

 "I said 'let me make a couple of phone calls.' I called John McLean with Paganelli construction that's doing some work on Main Street," he said. "He came down and said that his company would do it for free of charge and they want to get it done."

After a few tries with a grave digger, the construction workers were able to lift the headstone and put it back in place. A crew from United States Cemetery Services used an epoxy to make sure it stayed there.

"That's the way the corporation works. Paganelli is pro-community," said John MacLean of Paganelli Construction Corp. "It sad what happened here and we were more than willing to pitch in and help out."

Cemetery officials are is just grateful to see this headstone finally standing back upright.

"We're approaching Hanukkah and Christmas, seasons of miracles and the truth is miracles happen," Schwartz said. "Next week is Thanksgiving and we're thankful for the support of the community is and the tremendous work of the Hartford police."

In the future, officials said they're considering adding some security measures and possibly a motion light.

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