Cleanup underway following vandalism at Jewish cemetery

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UNIVERSITY CITY, MO (KPLR) – A massive clean-up job is underway at a historic Jewish cemetery in University City.

Vandals toppled many tombstones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery; now the search is on for those responsible.

The cemetery’s executive director Anita Feigenbaum said between 170 and 200 headstones were vandalized. She believes the vandalism happened over the weekend; it was discovered yesterday morning.

While many of the tombstones were knocked over, some were actually broken by the vandals when they toppled them.

The University City Police Department is investigating the case.

At this point, there are no suspects. Lieutenant Frederick Lemons of the University City Police Department said investigators are not calling this a hate crime, but they are keeping all avenues open.

Lemons said detectives are looking for any surveillance video in the area of the cemetery that could possibly provide clues.

As the police inquiry continues, the repairs at the cemetery are already underway.

The Rosenbloom Monument Company, which is right across the street from the cemetery, is stepping up to fix the damage.

Workers went in Tuesday morning and have already repaired some of the headstones that were vandalized.

Rosenbloom’s owner, Philip Weiss, said repairs could take all week. Damage estimates from the vandalism are being put potentially at tens of thousands of dollars.

As a precaution, Lt. Lemons said police would step up patrols not only at the Chesed Cemetery but at all religious institutions in University City.

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