Police Searching for Suspects in Jewish Cemetery Vandalism

Authorities in Massachusetts are asking for the public's help finding suspects who vandalized headstones at a Jewish cemetery.

Melrose police say officers received a report of young men vandalizing tombstones at the Netherlands Cemetery Association Burial Ground on Lindwood Avenue around 3 a.m. Thursday.

When officers arrived, they found a witness who said he saw three males, likely teen boys, kicking over tombstones and then fleeing the area.

Two of the suspects were described as slender and between 5'7" and 5'8", while the third was described as having a heavy build. They were wearing black and grey sweatshirts and t-shirts. One of them reportedly had a black backpack, while another had a skateboard.

Melrose Mayor Robert Dolan called the vandalism act a "potential hate crime," since the cemetery is the state's third-oldest Jewish cemetery.

"Cemeteries are sacred grounds," he said in a statement. "Any malicious destruction is deeply saddening and must be given the full attention of law enforcement to bring the individuals responsible to account for this horrible act."

Police Chief Michael Lyle said the suspects "should be ashamed of themselves."

Anyone who has information in connection with the vandalism is asked to call Melrose police at 781-665-1212. Melrose residents can also submit tips anonymously by texting MELROSE to TIP411 (847411).

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