Part of growing up is making mistakes, and sometimes getting into trouble. But one group of teens went way too far this week, and destroyed something special for dozens of families.
"They're not hurting the deceased they're hurting the living," says cemetery caregiver Sam Larson.
Sam Larson keeps an eye on her parents while working as a caretaker at the Belvidere Cemetery. Although Larson primarily works around the dead, she was shocked about what happened in the land of the living.
"The ax...they chopped the tree down and they then beat up one of the stones," Larson says.
This is one of 85 stones vandalized by a group of teenage boys this week. While all seven involved were arrested, Larson says that doesn't make up for the 14-hundred dollars it will cost to repair it. But headstones weren't the only damage to the cemetery.
"Smashing of urns and destroying flowers and figurines and destroyed angels and burnt flags...veteran flags," she says.
Larson says the Belvidere Cemetery will repair as much as their insurance will cover. Families are also asked to donate. And for those responsible for the destruction...Sam hopes they'll be ordered to pay restitution.
The Belvidere Cemetery says they're considering adding a fence...closing some of their seven entrances...and possibly adding 24-hour security to stop vandals in the future. As for the teenage boys...they're responsible for a-hundred thousand dollars in damage throughout the Stateline. They damaged more than 40 Belvidere school buses and a dozen cars parked on State Street. All will most likely face felony charges.