Antisemitic Desecration of Massachusetts Jewish Cemetery Worse Than Originally Thought, Cops Say
Police in Fall River, Massachusetts, said on Thursday that the volume of damage to the town’s Jewish cemetery in last weekend’s desecration incident was far worse than originally assessed.
Officials revised their tally of vandalized gravestones from 30 to 59, after they again canvassed the cemetery on Wednesday. Investigators found additional defaced headstones during a row-by-row sweep of the site.
Police Chief Albert Dupere told The Herald News that the FBI had offered to assist with the investigation.
“They could offer additional detectives, or investigators to help with interviews or technical assistance,” Dupere said. “We’re still canvassing the area looking for potential witnesses and video to make sure nothing was missed.”
Police do not have any leads on a possible suspect or suspects responsible for defacing the gravestones, he said. The department was working to identify and charge whoever was responsible for the “awful” act, Dupere said.
“Something on this scale, I can’t remember seeing something like this before,” he said. “I think it’s awful that this should ever happen anywhere, let alone here in Fall River.”
Investigators believe the perpetrator or perpetrators vandalized the headstones on Saturday, one day before it was discovered by Jeffrey Weissman, the president of Congregation Adas Israel who oversees the cemetery, and his two teenage grandsons.
The headstones had been daubed with viciously antisemitic graffiti, among them a Nazi swastika, the insults “Kike,” “Yid,” and “Heeb,” and slogans including “Heil Hitler,” “Hitler was right,” “Ethnic Cleansing,” “Oy Vey this is MAGA Country,” and “Expel the Jew.”
Police are offering a monetary reward to anyone who provides information leading to arrest. The Anti-Defamation League of New England is also offering an additional $1,500 reward.
Reward offered for info leading to arrest of people responsible for #AntiSemitic stmts of hate on dozens of graves in #FallRiverMA. Incredible work by @FallRiverPD today but they need the public's help. Silence is not an option…time to step up. pic.twitter.com/ahJzW5BAfA
— ADL New England (@ADL_NewEngland) March 19, 2019