Cemetery owner says vandalism will cost in the thousands

Friday, April 23, 2010 at 5:25pm

The manager of Franklin’s Mt. Hope Cemetery said vandalism earlier this week could end up costing several thousands of dollars, but the emotional toll may be more costly.

William Puckett, manager of the cemetery, said he believed vandals maliciously broke headstones and smashed vases overnight Wednesday in Mt. Hope, as well as in Toussaint L’Ouverture Cemetery, which joins Mt. Hope.

Puckett said the vandals overturned six monuments at Mt. Hope, most of which were double monuments for husbands and wives. They also toppled and broke a large cross, which Puckett said could cost as much as $8,000 alone.

“I’ve talked to folks and some of our neighbors and we ‘re just — we’re at a loss,” Puckett said.

“It has hurt us that work here because we try to maintain the cemetery as best as we possibly can for our families that are buried here,” Puckett said, “and then it hurts these families because they feel they’ve been singles out. I just got off the phone with a little lady who thought she’d been singled out.”

But he said there’s no reason to believe the headstones were deliberately targeted, as the trail of damage seemed to move “as the crow flies” through one cemetery and into the other.

On Friday, Franklin police said officers found a total of 14 headstones damaged and flower vases pushed over or broken in both cemeteries.

Police said information about the incident could be valuable, and anyone with information should call Williamson County Crime Stoppers at 615-794-4000. Or they can also provide an anonymous tip by texting the keyword 615FPD, along with a message, to 847411.