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Three teenagers have been arrested for allegedly destroying nearly 100 gravestones at Jewish cemeteries, police in Connecticut said. More than $20,000 worth of damage was caused during the attack.
Hartford Police, which started to investigate this case in mid-October, recently got a tip that three teens that live in the neighborhood were responsible and the arrests were made over the weekend.
Dozens of headstones are still toppled over at the Tower Avenue Jewish Cemeteries.
At first police investigated the case as a hate crime, but after talking to the teens, they said this was no longer the case.
Leonard Holtz, with Congregation Ados Israel, said the vandalism "basically attacked the defenseless and the emotions of those survivors."
"(The arrests) don't lessen the pain for people who have had their monuments desecrated," he added.
Holtz said visitors were still uneasy. “It has taken away the feeling that you can go here with peace of mind,” he said.
Hartford Police said that the suspects may have destroyed the gravestones while they were using it as a shortcut to a nearby park.
“It's a crime that inflicts pain and suffering on other families,” Holtz said.
He said he wanted those responsible to be held accountable, and to understand the damage wasn’t just aesthetic.
“A cemetery should be a sacred place, holy ground, this should never happen,” Holtz added.
The names of the suspects were not released.