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Vandals attack swans, damage historic cemetery

Posted at 3:57 AM, Sep 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-22 03:57:12-04

OSKALOOSA, IA (WHO-DT/CNN) - Forest Cemetery in Iowa is usually a pretty peaceful place.

It's quiet and very serene, but over the last few weeks it's been anything but that.

A spree of vandalism has hit the cemetery.

Headstones have been broken, flowers have been stolen and even fish farmed from the ponds.

That's not even the worst of it.

The unknown vandals attacked their famous swans.

First, they duct-taped a beak shut, then they decided to glue one shut.

Luckily the birds survived the attack.

That couldn't be said for a third bird that had its neck broken last year.

The damages have added up to $30,000 and climbing.

The police department is light on leads and no arrests have been made, but the local community is stepping up to solve the problem.

"I have family that's buried out there. The more I learned about everything that has happened over the past few years it really bothered me," Local business owner Kelli Steil said.

Steil is one of several business owners partnering to help the cemetery buy a new camera system to deter this from happening again.

The cost is steep, around $70,000 for equipment and installation.

It won't be finished for a couple weeks but the crew hopes they are done with cleaning up.

Police say they need help in solving this case.

If you have any information about who did it, call the Oskaloosa Police Department.

The Forest Cemetery is still short of their $70,000 goal to install the new cameras.

If you would like to donate, you're encouraged to send any offerings to 634 North 9th St, Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Copyright 2017 WHO-DT via CNN. All rights reserved.