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Deering officials are waiting to see how much it will cost to restore the disrupted graves in Appleton Cemetery. (Courtesy)

Two communities no closer to catching cemetery vandals

Deering Police Chief James Pushee said police continue to investigate who knocked over 26 grave markers - including some from the 19th century - in Appleton Cemetery within the past month.

"Any time there is activity like this, we as a society should look upon it as a despicable act and horribly dishonorable towards our ancestors," Pushee wrote in an e-mail.

A maintenance crew discovered the damage to the granite and marble gravestones when they returned to the cemetery to conduct monthly upkeep of the town-owned property along Deering Center Road near the Hillsborough border.

Town Administrator Craig Ohlson previously said the town contacted a company to determine how much it will cost to repair the vandalism, but has not received an estimate yet.

Pushee said police have "no active suspects at this time and would welcome any assistance or information that the public could provide us."

Meanwhile, Northwood Police Chief Glen Drolet said investigators have not identified the people who damaged dozens of stones in Canterbury Road Cemetery, the burial ground for some of the town's first settlers, last month. He added he hopes the publicity will help discourage perpetrators in the future.

"It can go either way," Drolet said, adding some people could feel untouchable and return to damage other graves despite an increase of police patrols of the town's six cemeteries.

Northwood officials agreed to pay more than $1,000 to repair the damaged stones, but expect vandals to return in the future.

Anyone with information about the vandalism in either town is encouraged to contact police in Deering at 464-3127 or in Northwood at 942-9101.

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