BLUE HILL – The town is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever vandalized the Mountainview Cemetery during the past few days.
The selectmen decided to offer the reward Friday after discussing the vandalism during their regular meeting.
“Some communities consider this a very serious offense,” Selectman Dwayne Gray said. “And this town is one of them.”
According to Maine State Police Trooper Tom Pickering, someone recently pushed over nine headstones at the cemetery, located on the Tamworth Farm Road. It does not appear that any of the stones were seriously damaged, Pickering said, but they were simply pushed off their bases. None was broken.
“It seems pretty random,” the officer said. “There was not one family name that was targeted and it was not in one specific area. They were all over the cemetery.”
Pickering collected evidence at the site Friday, but would not discuss the nature of that evidence while the investigation was still open.
“At this point, we’re just trying to determine who might have done this,” he said.
Selectman Jim Schatz noted that the cemetery has developed into a gathering space during the past several months. The road in front of the cemetery is criss-crossed by skid marks from squealing tires.
The selectmen were unanimous in their decision to offer the reward, but were specific that the reward would be paid only if the information led to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible.
There was some discussion, however, as to whether the town would be responsible for repairs at the cemetery. The town’s insurance would not cover the damage to the stones, according to Selectmen John Bannister, who pointed out that the stones are owned by individuals or families.
“We don’t have a legal obligation,” Bannister said. “We may have a moral obligation.”
Schatz suggested that since the town manages the cemetery, it may have some responsibility for the repairs.
They made no decision, but after the meeting, Gray met with a representative from a local funeral home at the cemetery to inspect the vandalism and determine how much it will cost to reset the stones.
Anyone with information about the incident can contact the Maine State Police at (800) 432-7381.