Three teens identified in Boston-area Jewish cemetery vandalism

Prime suspect leaves footprints on toppled gravestones; police not treating incident as hate crime

A view of the Netherlands Cemetery in Boston (Screen capture Google Maps)
A view of the Netherlands Cemetery in Boston (Screen capture Google Maps)

Police have identified three teenage boys as responsible for the toppling of headstones in a historic Jewish cemetery in Massachusetts.

One of the teens, who all live in Melrose, a city near Boston, is facing felony charges of damaging headstones and malicious destruction of property over $250. The discovery of the vandals’ identities was announced Tuesday.

The other two teens were present when the six headstones were kicked over at the Netherlands Cemetery on Thursday morning are not being charged as of now. Only the footprints of one teen were found on the toppled headstones and other ones, according to the Wicked Local news website for North of Boston, citing local police.

The vandalism is not being treated as a hate crime, according to police.

The incident was a “bad decision by youths,” a police spokesman told the local news website, and did not include elements of bias.

The Netherlands Cemetery, formally called the Netherlands Cemetery Association and Roxbury Mutual Society Burial Ground, is the third-oldest Jewish cemetery in Massachusetts and contains about 475 graves, according to the Mayor’s Office. It was established in 1859 by a group of Dutch Jews living in Greater Boston.

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