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Vandals deface headstones at Sumner Cemetery

Sumner Police Department is investigating the vandalism of over 80 headstones at the historic cemetery located on Valley Avenue, according to Communications Director Carmen Palmer. The incident occurred sometime last night, though an exact timeframe has not been released.

Cemetery staff immediately began work to restore the damaged headstones. Reports indicate that some were knocked over, while others were transferred to different spots within the cemetery. The city’s public works and parks departments have assisted in restoration efforts, in order to make a larger impact in a shorter amount of time.

A similar incident occurred in 2005, in which the perpetrators were sentenced to community service.

“I understand that this is an ongoing challenge with any cemetery, but it’s truly disheartening to think that anyone could do this to the memory of so many people and to their families,” Chief Brad Moericke said.

The cemetery, which is managed by the city of Sumner, will celebrate its 150-year anniversary this summer. Isaac Woolery donated two acres of land to start what was known as the Pioneer Cemetery in 1864. Newer portions of the cemetery were not affected by the incident last night.

Anyone with investigative leads regarding who may be responsible is asked to contact the Sumner detective tip line at 253-299-5678.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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