GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Michigan group has announced a reward of up to $3,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person, or people, responsible for vandalizing several gravestones at a Grand Rapids cemetery earlier this week, according to Grand Rapids Police.
"This desecration of headstones in the Ahavas Israel Jewish cemetery is an inexcusable and heinous act in the place where community members are remembered and honored," said Carolyn Normandin, The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Michigan Regional Director.
The vandalism was found election eve, the same day President Donald Trump held his last rally in Grand Rapids. Officers said six headstones were spray-painted and that the damaged appeared very recent. Photos from Monday show the words “TRUMP” and “MAGA” painted on the graves.
"The defacement of monument stones felt like an attack against the Jewish community. We are grateful for the outpouring of support from our Grand Rapids Jewish community and beyond," said David Krishef, Rabbi of Congregation Ahavas Israel, in a release from ADL Michigan and GRPD.
On Tuesday, the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) called on federal law enforcement to investigate the vandalism as a hate crime. The group is also offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who contacts law enforcement with information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.
"When I received the call about the vandalism, I was shocked and taken aback that something like this could happen to our cemetery," Edward Miller, Cemetery Chair for Congregation Ahavas Israel said. "The response from the community, both local and from abroad, has been overwhelming and humbling. I thank everyone who has spread awareness about this crime. I hope the person or persons responsible are found and are held accountable."
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact GRPD investigators directly at 616-456-3380. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may contact Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.
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