Police still investigating Chesed Shel Emeth vandalism, no suspects

Chesed Shel Emeth vandalism – Photo by James Griesedieck 63.jpg

By Eric Berger, Staff writer

University City Police have not made any arrests but are still processing evidence that was discovered at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery after 154 headstones were knocked over or otherwise damaged in mid-February, according to Lt. Frederick Lemons.

Amongst the rash of recent crimes affecting the American Jewish community, law enforcement has made some progress in arresting people who are suspected of making the bomb threats against Jewish institutions. But the vandalism at Jewish cemeteries in Philadelphia and St. Louis remains unsolved. “Our detectives want to find the perpetrators of the crime just like everyone else,” said Lemons of the University City Police Department. “We want to make sure that our citizens feel safe.”

He maintained that there “is nothing to indicate that this is or is not a hate crime.” Jewish communal leaders have also cautioned against labeling the vandalism a hate crime without evidence that the perpetrators were targeting Jews.

But the Anti-Defamation League is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the conviction of the person or persons responsible for the vandalism. “We want to reiterate to people if they hear anything, to let us know,” Lemons said.

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation is also assisting the University City police in the investigation.

The police reviewed surveillance video from throughout the weekend at several locations but were not able to identify any suspects, Lemons added.