Vandals target Jewish cemetery in Frankford

Five gravestones were toppled at Adath Jeshurun Cemetery, a half mile from where more than 100 stones were vandalized in February.

More than 100 grave markers were toppled at Mount Carmel Cemetery, Frankford and Cheltenham avenues in February. TIMES FILE PHOTO

Unidentified vandals targeted another Jewish cemetery in the Lower Northeast early this week.

Five gravestones were toppled at Adath Jeshurun Cemetery, 1855 Bridge St. in Frankford, late Monday or early Tuesday. The cemetery is about a half mile from Mount Carmel Cemetery in Wissinoming where more than 100 gravestones were vandalized in February.

A groundskeeper discovered the damage at Adath Jeshurun at about 12:46 p.m. Tuesday and reported it to police.

“We think it happened sometime after Monday afternoon,” Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum of Northeast Detectives said. “They were cutting the lawn that day and (the stones) weren’t lying down.”

Detectives and officers from the Crime Scene Unit went to the cemetery and searched for DNA and fingerprint evidence. There are no surveillance cameras there, but police are examining surveillance video from nearby homes.

In the video, “you might see who walked up and down the street, if (the vandals) walked that way,” Rosenbaum said.

The vandals tried to knock over two additional stones, but failed.

“They were shifted, but they didn’t get them over,” Rosenbaum said.

The damage was concentrated at the rear of the burial ground along Sanger Street near a utility gate that was not locked. A groundskeeper reportedly lives on the property.

The February case at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Wissinoming remains unsolved despite $74,000 in reward money posted by numerous donors. A visitor discovered the damage on Feb. 26 and reported it to police. Another visitor later reported he observed the damage on Feb. 21, but did not notify authorities then because he assumed they already knew about it.

Police initially said more than 100 gravestones were overturned. Jewish community leaders offered an estimate of several hundred stones, although many of those appeared to be older damage. ••

— William Kenny