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Reward money nears $1,300 for cemetery vandalism

Tuesday - 3/27/2012, 6:00am  ET


Nearly $1,300 has been raised as a reward for the arrest, prosecution and restitution of those responsible for vandalism at the New Market Cemetery.

Michael J. Sponseller, treasurer of the New Market Cemetery Co., said Monday he has received donations, even from people he does not know.

"I've been to lunch and dinner at places and people just came up and gave me $20 or $40 toward the reward," Sponseller said.

When a landscaper arrived at the cemetery next to the New Market United Methodist Church on March 19, he found 18 headstones knocked over, damaged or broken. Vandals even took the lid off one grave.

"That lid weighs 800 pounds, it has to be a group, to be sure more than one," Sponseller said of the vandals.

"There were no cars seen, no beer cans, no drug paraphernalia," Sponseller said. "No one saw anything."

Residents of Brinkley Manor, a community in New Market, feel violated, Sponseller said, since the cemetery is near their homes.

Sponseller estimated the damage at $30,000 to $50,000, but added that the slate used to make the top that was removed hasn't been used for more than a century.

"The money is coming in, ca-ching, ca-ching, ca-ching," Sponseller said. Besides notifying print media in the area, Sponseller said he also sent out the information on Facebook. "Donations and pledges have been coming in ever since."