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Cemeteries in West St. Paul, St. Boniface hit by vandals

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Two local cemeteries were targets of vandalism in the past few days leaving caretakers dismayed by the brazen lack of respect for the dead.

Evidence of violent rampages are visible at both the All Saints Cemetery in West St. Paul and the St. Boniface Cemetery in Winnipeg.

The All Saints Cemetery, located at 4535 Main St., was vandalized sometime on Friday night and a report made to East St. Paul RCMP while the St. Boniface Cemetery, at 917 Archibald St., was hit last Wednesday and a report filed with Winnipeg police.

"Friday night, we had some vandals in here breaking mausoleum windows and statues and a bench," said Willie Korchynski, the caretaker at All Saints Cemetery. "It’s really saddening that stuff like this has to happen. Especially when this is people’s last resting spot."

He said the damage to about 10 monuments occurred late Friday and was discovered on Saturday.

Last Wednesday night at the St. Boniface Cemetery, vandals targeted the older area of the cemetery where about 25 monuments were vandalized, including some that were destroyed.

"It’s in an older section right by Archibald. Some of them are very old. Crosses were cracked and broken and a lot of chips on the granite and they knocked a whole bunch down," said caretaker Michel Michaud.

"It’s just frustrating. There’s nothing a person can do. It’s open 24 hours here, the main entrance isn’t locked."

One of the toppled monuments belonged to a World War I veteran who died in 1919. Michaud said most of the monuments in that area were from burials in the 1920s and 1930s.

"There’s going to be a lot of work (to repair the damage)," said Michaud, who had called in an assistant Monday to help begin the cleanup and repair. "Some of the smaller monuments won’t be too bad to fix but some of the older ones were crooked already so it’s going to be pretty difficult to level those (to put them back up)."

Korchynski said the All Saints Cemetery is a wide-open area that can be accessed easily.

"They might have to consider doing something here to secure the cemetery a little bit more. But you wouldn’t think, with this being a somewhat rural area cemetery, that it would be vandalized but I guess it is."

Korchynski said breaking the mausoleum windows was particularly puzzling.

"I don’t know if they were trying to break in or if they were just vandals wrecking things. I don’t know what goes on in their minds."

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

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