Up to 100 headstones have been damaged at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia, authorities said Sunday.
A Philadelphia police spokeswoman estimated that between 75 and 100 graves were knocked over at Mount Carmel Cemetery in the Wissinoming section of the city.
WPVI reported that Aaron Mallin discovered the damage Sunday morning when he arrived at the cemetery to visit his father’s grave.
“I’m hoping it was maybe just some drunk kids. But the fact that there’s so many, it leads one to think it could have been targeted,” Mallin told the station. “It’s just very heartbreaking.”
Stacy Silver told Philly.com that the tombstones of her mother and great-grandmother had been toppled to the ground.
“Your stomach just drops,” Silver said. “I mean it’s just horrible.”
Police did not say whether they had any suspects in the case or whether they knew of a motive.
“It’s criminal. This is beyond vandalism,” Capt. Shawn Thrush told Philly.com. “It’s beyond belief.”
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia lists Mount Carmel as a Jewish cemetery in northeastern Philadelphia. Philly.com reported that the cemetery contains tombstones dating back to at least the mid-1800s.
The damage comes less than a week after a Jewish cemetery in suburban St. Louis reported more than 150 headstones vandalized, many of them tipped over.
Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon called the damage reported in Philadelphia “shocking and a source of worry.”
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia said late Sunday that it would open an online mailbox to begin raising money for repairs.