Indiana group seeks mandatory jail time, other tough penalties for cemetery vandalism

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — A northern Indiana group upset by a recent wave of cemetery vandalism is urging lawmakers to toughen up penalties for anyone convicted of damaging gravestones.

The LaPorte County group, Citizens Concerned with Cemetery Vandalism, recently sent a letter to local, state and congressional leaders seeking legislation to boost cemetery vandalism penalties, including mandatory jail time for those crimes.

Cemetery associations, research groups and historical and genealogical societies signed the letter, which says “cemetery vandalism shows an absolute disrespect for our heritage, history, and culture.”

Group member Donna Nelson tells The Journal Gazette any items within a cemetery should be deemed historical artifacts and those convicted should face severe penalties.

The recent wave of cemetery vandalism includes more than 100 headstones that were damaged or overturned in Michigan City.

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