WYCKOFF, N.J. -- Almost 10 years-worth of restoration work on the century-old headstones behind the Wyckoff Reformed Church was ruined in just one night.
Members of the church’s Cemetery Board of Trustees discovered that almost 50 headstones had been knocked to the ground over the weekend, and pastor Andy Kadzban was heartbroken.
During a walk through the cemetery Wednesday morning, Kadzban surveyed the damage.
“This is a desecration of people’s final resting places,” Kadzban said, weaving through a freshly-broken stone dating back to the 1850s.
“It is not just vandalism, it is a cemetery.”
In one spot, six stones in a row were knocked to the ground. In another spot, a pair of small stones were toppled over. They marked the graves of babies less than a year old.
In the past, there have been occasional bouts of one or two stones being knocked down, Kadzban said, “But never anything close to this volume.”
When church members discovered the damage, they contacted the Wyckoff Police Department. Kadzban said the police will be paying extra attention to the location, and the church is planning to install extra security cameras.
Church members are also thinking about ways to help repair the damage -- that could exceed $10,000.
Local Eagle Scouts have previously spearheaded projects to help restore old headstones, and Kadzban said the church may solicit such help again.
But Kadzban said even when the older stones are repaired, people can still notice the damage. “They never go back together quite right,” he said. “They will never be the same.”
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Wyckoff Police at (201) 891-2121.