LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) – Police in Longmont are searching for one suspect after they identified a handful of others wanted in the destruction of headstones at the Mountain View Cemetery.
Police said all of the suspects have been identified in the four incidents of vandalism between June 29 and Aug. 10. More than 150 headstones and a Civil War statue were damaged.
Police said one adult, age 21, and six juveniles — one female and five males between the ages of 14 and 17 — have been identified and are cooperating with the investigation.
Police have issued an arrest warrant for criminal mischief for John Heston. Heston, 19, is the only suspect police have yet to interview in regards to the cemetery vandalism. Officers believe Heston may be staying in the Longmont area with friends and/or camping along the St. Vrain River.
“He is the one person that we have not been able to track down and we are looking for him,” Cmdr. Jeff Satur with Longmont police said.
Granite headstones and statues weighing thousands of pounds were knocked over and destroyed. The Civil War statue from 1909 was also decapitated. The vandals left the cemetery with the statue’s head. It was recovered two days later. The cost of the damage is estimated at $40,000.
“I still feel extremely violated by what they have done here. It’s unforgivable in my eyes,” said Janice Taylor, whose mother is buried in the cemetery.
Longmont police say footprints left on headstones and evidence left on the statue’s head is helping the investigation.
Police also credit CBS4 News with broadcasting the report of the vandalism, which they said encouraged witnesses to come forward to help with the investigation.
“We have broke open the cemetery vandalism case thanks to tips from viewers,” Satur said.
A total of 106 headstones were tipped over on Aug. 9, 51 were damaged on July 29, 20 on July 17, and another attack was reported on June 30.
“It’s not much fun being on the run, looking over your shoulder, we’re going to track him down,” Satur said.
The cemetery is a landmark that has been a part of Longmont’s history for 137 years.