UPDATE: CrimeTracker 15: Vandals Strike Milton Cemetery

UPDATED Tuesday, June 14, 2011 --- 11:01 a.m.

Press Release from the Milton Police Department:

Officers from the City of Milton Police Department along with other local law enforcement agents are teaming up with the Milton/Milton Township Fire Department for a charitable softball game. The event is being billed as “Guns and Hoses 2011” and will be held at Schilberg Park on Friday July 1st at 7:00pm. Staff will be on hand to collect donations from those attending. All proceeds raised during the event will go towards a beautification project at the Milton Cemetery. T-shirts commemorating the game will also be available to order for $15. You will be able to choose between fire department red t-shirts, and blue law enforcement t-shirts.

Varsity Lanes in Milton is also partnering up in this effort. On July 1st, between 4pm and 10pm, they will donate $5 towards this project for every large pizza that is sold on site.

On May 26th it was discovered that vandals had caused well over $60,000.00 in damage at the cemetery. That same week 2 juvenile males were taken into custody on felony charges of Criminal Damage to Religious Property in connection with the incident. The quick arrests were the result of community members coming forward to help us quickly identify those that were responsible.

Since the incident occurred the City of Milton Public Works Department has spent considerable time, totaling approximately $2,500.00 in labor, putting the headstones back together, when feasible, and bringing the cemetery back to the best state possible. However, some of the damage to memorials is irreparable, and will never be able to be brought back to its original state.

We would like to invite people from around the area to attend the event and donate to this worthy cause. We are hopeful that our community will come forward and help support the effort to once again make the Milton Cemetery a well groomed environment where families can go to visit the memorials of loved ones.

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UPDATED: Friday, June 3, 2011 --- 1:34p.m.

Release from Milton Police Department:

Recently several families have come forward claiming their family memorials had been damaged in the acts of vandalism at the Milton Cemetery last week. On Tuesday of this week our agency took two individuals into custody on charges of Disorderly Conduct for their roles in the incident. We are now able to request additional charges of Criminal Damage to Religious Property, a felony, because those victims have filed reports. The 16 year old Janesville male involved is being held at the Rock County Juvenile Detention Center on a probation violation. The 16 year old Milton male is in the custody of his parents and will have a future court date regarding this incident. Our agency does not anticipate any further arrests associated with the vandalism.

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UPDATED Tuesday, May 31, 2011 --- 9:46 p.m.

Update from the Milton Police Department:

This evening the City of Milton Police Department arrested two individuals on charges of Disorderly Conduct for their respective roles in the recent criminal damage to the Milton Cemetery.

One suspect was a 16 year old male from Janesville, and the other suspect was a 16 year old male from Milton. One was taken into custody at approximately 8:00pm at a local business as the result of an anonymous tip, and the other was taken into custody at his home in Milton. The male from Janesville was turned over to Janesville police as he was a runaway from their community. The Milton male was released to the custody of his parents.

We are urging any family members who had memorials damaged to contact our agency immediately. At this point we can only pursue misdemeanor charges for Disorderly Conduct. Being able to identify victims in this case will allow our agency to request felony charges of Criminal Damage to Religious Property resulting in excess of $60,000.00 worth of damage.

Any potentially victimized families should contact the Milton Police Department at 757-2244.

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UPDATED Tuesday, May 31, 2011 --- 10:20 a.m.

From the Milton Police Department:

Janesville Area Crimestoppers has offered a reward of up to $1000.00 should an individual come forward with information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for last week’s criminal damage incident at the Milton Cemetery. We are also authorizing an additional $250.00 from our Crime Prevention Fund should a report lead directly to an arrest.

We are urging any victims to come forward if their family’s headstone was damaged. At this point we have not had anybody claim ownership of the damaged property, and that will be necessary to charge those responsible with Criminal Damage To Religious Property, a felony. A list of names from the legible headstones will appear in a public notice in this week’s edition of the Milton Courier.

The investigation is ongoing, and we have received some information regarding the incident. However, we would urge anybody with information to contact the Milton Police Department at 757-2244 or Janesville Area Crimestoppers at 756-3636. Once again, reports can remain anonymous.

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UPDATED: Thursday, May 26, 2011 --- 5:00 p.m.
By: Barclay Pollak
@twitter barclaypollak

Vandals target a Rock County cemetery and cause more than $60,000 of damage.

Milton Cemetery sits along highway 26. Right next door you'll find several homes.

But, overnight vandals entered the cemetery and knocked over some 40 headstones, breaking at least 15 of them.

" We're going to do the best we can to restore it."

Lt. John Conger with the Milton Police Department says the damage happened between 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon and 8 this morning.

They don't have any leads yet. But, their investigation isn't over. Lt. Conger says it appears to be a random act.

"Some were broken off as as opposed to being tipped over other ones from the 1800's were just snapped in half."

Lt. Conger believes this is the work of juveniles. What makes all of this worse is a lot the head stones are very old.

So, notifying family about the damage could prove to be difficult if not impossible.

"There are many in here that are from the 1800's that we wouldn't even know where to begin to contact family members. They're just not around anymore."

Police are waiting to get video tape from near by facilities to see if that can aid in their search.

There are two other cemeteries in Milton. Both were fine. Until this is solved Lt. Conger says they'll increase their patrols in hopes of preventing further damage.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact the Janesville Area Crimestoppers or the Milton P.D.

We've posted those phone numbers under news links.

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Posted Thursday, May 26, 2011 --- 10:05 a.m.

From the City of Milton Police Department:

The City of Milton Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in an ongoing investigation of criminal damage that took place at the Milton Cemetery, 123 N. Janesville Street.

Approximately 25 headstones were overturned and another 15 were damaged by vandals between 3:00pm on Wednesday and 8:00am on Thursday.

Precise damage estimates are not yet known, but it is believed the total will be in excess of $60,000.00.

Individuals that come forward with information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for this crime are eligible for a cash reward through Janesville Area Crimestoppers.

Individuals with tips can remain anonymous. If you have information regarding this incident please contact the Milton Police Department at 757-2244 or Janesville Area Crimestoppers at 756-3636.

Anonymous tips can also be sent via text to CRIMES (274637), then enter JACS plus your message.


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