Philadelphia police have confirmed a published report that the vandalism at Mount Carmel Cemetery, resulting in damage to more than 100 headstones, occurred prior to the time it was initially reported.
After conferring with Peter “Bill” Doran, superintendent of both the Laurel Hill and West Laurel Hill cemeteries in a different part of the city, they now place the timeline between Feb. 16 and Feb. 21.
Fifteenth district Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum, who’s heading the investigation said Doran was credible. He said Doran was at the cemetery on Feb. 21.
“He went there because a client from the cemetery where he works wanted an exact replica of another family member’s monument. So he went to look for the monument at Mount Carmel, couldn’t find it at first and strolled into the devastation.
“But he never reported it. We know through investigation on the 16th that when the veteran’s group that goes there and takes care of the Jewish war veterans, none of that was damaged.
That would mean it actually occurred before or right around the same Feb. 20 date Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in St. Louis was vandalized.
The timeline change at Mount Carmel was originally reported by philly.com on March 1.
“I didn’t raise any red flags,” Doran told philly.com, “because when I got there, the gate was unlocked and open, so I assumed the people that run it knew about it and didn’t want publicity. I came back and told my peers I was just in this Jewish cemetery, and it was vandalized.”
Police were skeptical of his story at first, especially since he hadn’t reported his findings, but after meeting with him at the site later in the day, they’re convinced.
Doran did not return a call from the Jewish Exponent.
Rosenbaum said the investigation continues.
“We’ll probably go at least into next week with the investigation,” he said. “We’ll set up flyers in the in the neighborhood and see if that shakes up anything.”
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