CRYSTAL SPRINGS — Pasco County deputies are looking for one or more suspects linked to vandalism of two grave sites in this community's small cemetery.
Deputies were called to Crystal Springs Cemetery on Wise Road on June 21 about a disturbed grave. Upon arriving, they found a hole near a tombstone without a name. The hole was about 5 feet deep and 3 to 4 feet wide, according to a Sheriff's Office news release. When deputies examined it, they found nothing but rainwater.
After walking around the property, deputies found another grave site that had been vandalized. They found the top vault of the above-ground tomb had been moved, and it appeared someone had tried to get in. However, no damage was visible, according to an incident report.
A groundskeeper told deputies both had been disturbed since he was last there on June 12.
Deputies also found tire marks near the grave sites but were unable to identify them due to recent rains.
Nothing is believed to have been taken from either grave site, and authorities said they were looking at the crime as nothing more than criminal mischief.
Without witnesses or security camera evidence, the Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help in identifying suspects linked to the vandalism.
The small cemetery has never seen problems like this in the past, said Cynthia Cornelius, president of the Crystal Springs Cemetery Association. Outside of four-wheeler tracks or wild hogs moving through, the 5-acre cemetery usually remains undisturbed.
Cornelius said she was aggravated and in disbelief someone would do this, especially in the oldest section of the cemetery, which dates back to about 1911. It has her and the community thinking about adding security.
"A lot of people were wanting to put trail cameras up to see when the pigs came," she said. "Now people want to put up cameras to see when the idiots come."
Contact Chris Bowling at [email protected] or at (813) 435-7308. Follow @chrismbowling.