Vandals damage west Tulsa cemetery

Wednesday, November 16th 2005, 10:16 am
By: News On 6

Aggravated neighbors woke up Wednesday morning to find vandals had wrecked a large share of their west-side Tulsa cemetery. Around 170 tombstones were knocked over in Clinton Oak Cemetery near 41st Street.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg says Lorene Carpenter and her neighbor were looking for a relative's grave marker, but the usual landmarks had been knocked over. "I'm really heartsick over this, I don't know."

In fact just about everywhere they looked there were toppled stones. "It's about a five acre cemetery, and it's from one end to the other." Tulsa city worker Michael Perkins says there almost had to be more than one vandal at work. “There's headstones that are weighing in thousands of pounds or more and would take multiple people to probably tip them over or kick them over."

The cemetery doesn't have any sort of gate, no way to shut it down. So all they really know is that it happened sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday morning. Michael Perkins: “The neighbors around the cemetery that have talked to us today said, y'know, when the sun set, nothing was noticed was noticed that was damaged, but when they got up this morning, they noticed it."

Carpenter says from time to time she volunteers to keep up the cemetery grounds. When the weather's good, she says she walks through here nearly every day. "And really enjoy it. Sitting down there when it's nice and looking around y'know."

Some of the cleanup had already begun, but there's a lot of work to do. Lorene Carpenter: "One of them guys told me the taxpayers have to pay for it, and I said, oh boy."

Michael Perkins: "It's going to be well into the thousands of dollars, it might $5,000 or more. We won't know until the job is completed. It's really a shame."