MILFORD, Del. -- Several tombstones in a Kent County cemetery have been overturned and possibly vandalized according to a couple who discovered the fragmented memorials recently.
Renee Hoffman and her husband Daniel visited the old section of Milford's Community Cemetery between Route 113 and Church St. on Dec. 14 where they noticed a number of unnaturally broken tombstones and memorials.
"There's a lot of damage," said Daniel Hoffman, a Dover Air Force veteran as he described some of the broken headstones at his home in Frederica.
"I don't even think they can be fixed. The old white stones from the 1800s was pushed over and broken in two," said Hoffman in disbelief.
The Hoffman's have not had a tombstone damaged but said several flower pots attached to Mrs. Hoffman's relative's gravesites were stolen, along with several other gravesites in the new section, about two months ago.
The couple said they called Milford Police Department immediately the day they discovered the flower pots were missing.
According to Hoffman, the officer who wrote down his information told the couple there was not much the department could do if the individual families did not come forward.
WBOC contacted MPD's Public Information Officer, Lt. Edward Huey, on Dec. 15 who said it's incorrect that individual families would have to come forward with claims in order for the department to respond to reports of vandalism and theft in the cemetery.
The PIO said the department has not received a report of vandalism in the cemetery in recent months.
Lt. Huey could not be reached for comment on the MPD's protocol for investigating vandalism and theft cases in cemeteries the following day.
"I understand that it's a very small amount of money but it's the principle of the thing," said Mrs. Hoffman, whose relatives are also buried in the new section of the cemetery. "I think it's disrespectful for people to go in there and take something from a family member or a loved one," she said.
One Milford resident with several family members buried at the community cemetery said although it's never happened to her, theft from this cemetery is not unheard of.
"I have one friend, she fixes a beautiful saddle for every occasion and she's had that stolen several times," said Janice Abbott.
Cemetery vandalism in Delaware has not been uncommon in recent months. Back in July, the Postles Community Cemetery in Milford had its antique wrought iron fence stolen over Fourth of July weekend.