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Cemetery vandals break headstones

GARDNER -- Vandals ripped and burned American flags, including some adorning the graves of Civil War veterans, and damaged about 20 headstones at a historic cemetery here, police said.

The graves desecrated over the weekend at Crystal Lake Cemetery included an 89-year-old monument that will probably never be replaced, said Michael J. Gonyeo, Gardner's municipal grounds director.

''It's senseless," Gonyeo told the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester.

The stone erected in memory of Mary A. Tyrrell, who lived from 1835 to 1916, is made from a type of limestone that is no longer available, he said. It was broken in four places.

Gonyeo said the city Cemetery Commission has posted a $500 reward for the arrest and conviction of the vandals. He said they could face jail or up to $5,000 in fines.

He also said families whose graves have been damaged could sue to recover the cost of repairs.

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