Martha Rhyne couldnt believe it: someone deliberately damaged the grave where her two sons are buried.
The family marker and 41 others in Bessemer City Memorial Cemetery were vandalized late Friday or early Saturday, stirring outrage in this small Gaston County community.
I think its terrible someone would do a thing like that, Rhyne, 76, said on Sunday. It doesnt seem right, just for the kick of it.
The incident was the second act of vandalism reported in the cemetery on North 13th Street in the past month. The most recent damage was discovered around 7 a.m. Saturday.
Police said granite and marble tombstones throughout the cemetery were overturned, causing $6,200 in damage.
Sgt. C.B. Lowrance of the Gaston County Police said Sunday that authorities were trying to locate two people in connection with the vandalism.
Desecration of a grave is a felony, he said.
On Sunday, police got numerous calls about the vandalism and Lowrance said, there are a whole lot of upset family members.
Bessemer City Mayor Becky Smith called the vandalism despicable.
For someone to take joy in the destruction of the burial site of peoples loved ones its hard to come up with words to say how upset I am. It just broke my heart.
Hopefully, theyll catch whoever did this, and theyll be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
The cemetery vandalism will come up for discussion at Monday nights City Council meeting, Smith said.
Vandalism was also reported at the cemetery on July 18, when police discovered seven graves had been desecrated. Police said tombstones had been overturned, and graffiti had been spray-painted on them.
Rhyne doesnt have a damage estimate on the marker for her two sons; one son was electrocuted while working on a floor furnace and the other died of a heart attack, she said.
As she considered who might have vandalized the graves, Rhyne said it was probably a bunch of kids or teenagers. But you never know. Its awful. I dont understand things like this.
Anyone with information about the crimes is asked to call police at 704-866-3320 or Crime Stoppers at 704-861-8000. People who give information that leads to an arrest may be eligible to receive a reward of up to $1,000.