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Vandals damage historic Mechanicville cemetery

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Albany/HV: Vandals damage historic Mechanicville cemetery
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At the end of last week, Mechanicville officials say unknown vandals caused hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage at the Hudson View Cemetery. Matt Hunter reports.

MECHANICVILLE, N.Y. -- Jim Doty has been the caretaker at the historic Hudson View Cemetery in Mechanicville for decades, yet, what he encountered late last week was a first.

"I don't know what they're thinking,” Doty said. “If they had family in here, they wouldn't do it."

After first noticing a few head stones had been tipped over on Friday afternoon, Doty surveyed the rest of the grounds. What he found shocked him: More than 91 stones, many of them well over 100 years old, had been vandalized. Early estimates put the damage total in the six figures.

"$200,000 to $300,000" Doty estimated on Monday afternoon.

"At the end of the day, you cannot put a price tag on someone's final resting place, on the stone,” Mechanicville Police Chief Joseph Waldron said. “If you just stop and think for a second, someone's got to say to themselves, this is just a senseless act."

The brunt of the damage occurred in the cemetery's old section, where many of the stones are damaged beyond repair. A 1,000 pound granite slab from a neighboring section was rolled down a hill and ended up dozens of yards from its plot.

Fixing those stones that are salvageable is a process that could take months.

"The easiest stone is going to take you an hour to pick up and reset, they'll have to be leaded and sealed," said Robert Chase, the secretary and treasurer for the Mechanicville Cemetery Association.

While police say they currently have no leads or suspects, they believe a group of young people are responsible.

Given the nature of the crime, Waldron believes it's only a matter of time before someone turns them in.

"It's like vandalizing a church. You just don't do it. You don't do that kind of stuff,” Waldron said. “It bothers a lot of people when you do damage like this."

"Memorial Day is just around the corner and I don't know how I'm going to get them all up and mowed and weed whacked in time," Doty said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Mechanicville Police Department at (518) 664-7383.

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