Grave Robbery & Desecration

Sept 2018 – A plaque on the front gate of the Minneapolis Pioneer & Soldier’s Cemetery was stolen. It was located on a stone entrance pillar since the 1920s and was made of cast metal. This is one of the oldest cemeteries in the city and the final resting place of many of its African-American residents. [Search On For Vandals Who Damaged Property at Oldest Cemetery in Minneapolis, September 5, 2018, KSTP Eyewitness News].

Aug 2017 – Al Maghfirah (Islamic) cemetery, Castle Rock Township, Dakota County, MN. Graffiti including, swastikas, and vandalism. [Dakota County Vandalism Reported at Newly Opened Islamic Cemetery. St. Paul Pioneer Press, August 2, 2017].

2014 – Lake Minnetonka Indian Burial Mounds. During construction of a highway roundabout Indian burial mounds, hundreds of years old, were disturbed. Proof was discovered in the form of Indian bone fragments that were unearthed. The mounds are of the Dakota Tribe. The mounds have since been restored. [After 3 Years, Minnetonka Burial Mound Restoration Reaches Completion, Star Tribune, by Miguel Otárola, November 11, 2017].

2013 – Evergreen Memorial Garden (cemetery), Mahtomedi, MN. Approximately 50 brass flower vases were stolen. They were later recovered from the North Mississippi Regional Park near the Camden boat launch. Police: 50 Brass Vases Stolen From Mahtomedi Cemetery.

Sept 2012 – Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Bloomington, MN. A grave was illicitly unearthed. The burial was that of a World War II veteran. Both the vault and casket were opened, but nothing was missing or removed. Edward Redhead had been buried there since 1971. No motive has ever been determined, but may have been a case of mistaken identity. [Could Unearthed Ft. Snelling Grave Be Linked to 1980s Criminal? Star Tribune (Mpls.), September 10, 2012, by Kevin Duchschers].

May 2012 – Glen Haven Memorial Gardens, Crystal, MN. Over 100 bronze vases were stolen, apparently for their copper content. [Thieves Target Burial Grounds, Star Tribune, by Mary Lynn Smith & Paul Walsh, May 23, 2012].

2011 – St. Joseph’s Parish Cemetery, Plymouth, MN. On October 21, over 40 monuments were tipped over. [St. Joseph’s Parish Rebuilds After Cemetery Vandalism, Plymouth-Sun-Sailor, Dec. 27, 2012].

2006 – St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Cemetery, Hastings, MN. Fifteen headstones were tipped over along with dozens of decorative flower containers. [Vandalism damage at Hastings Cemetery Estimated at $60,000. Star Tribune (Mpls.), November 10, 2006].

1995 – St. Anthony Cemetery, Minneapolis, MN. Granite crosses were broken off, thirteen of which were placed upside down; tombstones were tipped over. The desecration occurred in the days leading up to Easter. Police confirmed satanic overtones. [Vandalism in Catholic Cemetery on Holy Day Suggests Satanism. Star Tribune (Mpls.), April 15, 1995].

1994 – Crystal Lake Cemetery, North Minneapolis, MN. At least 250 headstones were toppled.

1990 – Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, MN. The corpse of a nine-year old drowning victim was stolen from a Lakewood Cemetery outdoor, above-ground crypt. His remains were recovered several weeks later from the Mississippi River. His head and hands not found. Two suspects were identified, one of which pleaded guilty, and the other dismissed due to passage of the statute-of-limitations. [Body in River May Be From Crypt,  Tomb robbed last month. Star Tribune (Mpls.), February 16, 1990].

1990 – Adath Chesed Shel Emes Cemetery, Crystal, MN. At least 225 headstones were toppled in this Jewish cemetery. [Cemetery Damage/Most Cruel Vandalism, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Aug. 18, 1990].

1990 – St. Peter’s Cemetery, Mendota, MN. On March 17, 25 headstones were tipped over. “An altar in the cemetery was painted with vulgarities and cult symbols.” [Mendota Cemetery Vandalism Probed. St. Paul Pioneer Press, March 29, 1990].

1990 – West Side Hebrew Cemetery, St. Paul, MN. Nearly 200 headstones were knocked over in a Jewish cemetery. [200 Headstones in Jewish Cemetery in St. Paul are Toppled by Vandals, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Aug 21, 1990].

1975 – Bde Maka Ska Navy Memorial, Minneapolis, MN. A ship’s wheel and bell, which were part of an American Legion memorial, were taken without permission of the Minneapolis Park Board. Years later they showed up in a Minnetonka High School. The wheel was from the USS Minnesota; the bell from a U.S. Navy cruiser. Read More.

1962 – Theft of Indian skulls, Acacia Park Cemetery, Mendota Heights, MN. Seven skulls were stolen out of an Indian burial vault. Other vandalism also occurred including the desecration of graves. Twenty juveniles were arrested. [Pilot Knob Preservation Association, West St. Paul Riverview Booster News, July 13, 1962]. Read More.

1953 – Desecration of Adath Jeshurun, a Minneapolis Jewish cemetery. One-hundred thirty-eight monuments or gravestones were overturned.