Metro

Headstones knocked over at Watertown cemetery

A cemetery in Watertown was vandalized Tuesday, leaving several headstones damaged and a religious statue toppled, Watertown police said.
Watertown Police Department
A cemetery in Watertown was vandalized Tuesday, leaving several headstones damaged and a religious statue toppled, Watertown police said.

A cemetery in Watertown was vandalized Tuesday, leaving several headstones damaged and a religious statue toppled, Watertown police said.

Police received a report that St. Patrick’s Cemetery, which is owned by the Archdiocese of Boston, was vandalized Tuesday around 7 p.m., Watertown police Lieutenant James O’Connor said.

“We had seven headstones that were intentionally, maliciously knocked over,” he said.

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A statue dedicated to the Marist Missionary Sisters that stands about 8 feet tall was also knocked off its pedestal, O’Connor said.

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“As a result, it shattered on the ground,” he said.

Several of the sisters are buried around the statue, O’Connor said.

The archdiocese will notify the families with connections to the damaged headstones and will also see that they are repaired, O’Connor said.

All seven of the headstones were “reset” by around 3:30 p.m., and the shattered monument was removed and will be replaced, Boston Archdiocese spokesman Terrence Donilon said in an e-mail to the Globe.

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The Watertown Police Department is also investigating.

“Our detectives processed some of the headstones for any forensic-related evidence,” O’Connor said.

Other towns in the area experienced similar incidents over the summer, but O’Connor said detectives do not believe they are related.

The Mount Auburn Cemetery, a small, Catholic cemetery in Cambridge, was vandalized with spray paint in mid-August, Donilon said.

Less than a month before that, about half a dozen headstones were vandalized in a Jewish cemetery in Melrose on July 27.

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Still, O’Connor said cemetery vandalism is a rare occurrence in Watertown.

“It’s definitely uncommon behavior,” he said. “We do have incidents at cemeteries once in a while, but it’s not common to see this in Watertown.”

All seven of the headstones were “reset” by around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Watertown Police Department
All seven of the headstones were “reset” by around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Alyssa Meyers can be reached at alyssa.meyers@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @ameyers_.