“It’s hurtful:” Lee Co. Sheriff’s Office looking for possible Salem cemetery vandals

“It’s hurtful:” Lee Co. Sheriff’s Office looking for possible Salem cemetery vandals

SALEM, Ala. (WTVM) - The Lee County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in identifying a group of people possibly connected to vandalism at a historic East Alabama cemetery.

A chain now hangs across the driveway that leads to the County Line Cemetery on Lee Road 252 in Salem in an effort to stop the stream of vandals they have seen over the years.

“Practically every time we’d go out there to fix something and a week or two later, it’d be messed up again,” Talitha Norris, of the Lee County Cemetery Preservation Commission, said.

The chain and cameras, both installed about nine months ago, seemed to make a difference for a while, discouraging trespassers and damage to these historic graves. This was until Jan. 1, when several men were caught on camera in the cemetery in the middle of the night.

“No one has any business being in a cemetery at two or three in the morning,” Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said. “They’re probably up to no good and are probably connected to the vandalism that’s occurred there.”

Norris said although many may not see the vandalism in that rural cemetery, the hurt runs deep, like the cracks in the headstones, for those who have family members buried there.

“Put yourself in the place of somebody that has a relative buried out there,” Norris said. “If it were your grandmother, your mother, father. Would you want their grave vandalized? It’s hurtful to people.”

Now the Lee County Sheriff’s Office is asking for your help identifying the group of people in the video.

“We want to assure folks, we intend to prosecute them when we identify them and establish they’re responsible,” Sheriff Jones said. "They’ll be charged at the very least with trespassing. They have no business being in that cemetery.

Norris said the care of this cemetery should be a concern for everyone.

“That’s a statement of our community and the people that have come before us,” she said. “It took them to make us what we are today.”

If you have any information the vandalism, you are asked to call the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 334-749-5651.

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