The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

October 2, 2013

Tipped tombstones keep cemetery workers busy

By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer

CLINTON — Every morning for the past month, Groundskeeper Darrell Mueller arrives at Clinton's Springdale Cemetery, wondering how many tombstones will have been tipped over.

"I do not know what fun it is to do that," Mueller said about the gravestones that he's found tipped over. "It's definitely disrespectful."

At first, Mueller would find one or two markers down. From there it snowballed to multiple tombstones in the more remote areas of the cemetery.

"If there's one down, there's usually three or four down in the same spot," Mueller said.

Last Wednesday, he filed a police report for nine tombstones that had been tipped over in a 12-hour time period. The report estimated the damage at $500.

Throughout his years as groundskeeper, Mueller has experienced other incidents of people knocking over tombstones. However, he said these were typically one-time occurrences, with the cemetery quieting back down afterwards. In this case, he said it has become an ongoing issue.

Luckily, Mueller has not had to repair any of the markers. While he has discovered a few chips and dings, there has not been any major damage. He added it is more time consuming than anything.

"What takes the kids five minutes to knock over takes us eight hours to put back," Mueller said.

The Clinton Police Department could be reached to comment on the investigation.