Vandals are causing thousands of dollars in damage to the East Union Cemetery.
In a bid to discourage further damage and to possibly catch the culprits, the non-profit association that operates the historic cemetery on the southwest corner of Louise Avenue and Union Road is hoping to install additional security lighting and eventually add surveillance cameras as well.
The biggest losses have been reoccurring damage to the motors that open and close the wrought iron entrance gate off of Union Road.
Three times someone after hours and under cloak of darkness has used a vehicle to force open the gates damaging the motors that operate the gates. Each time it has cost $500 to repair the motors.
On Monday with what funds the association was able to commit to the project, modern LED lights replaced long-burned out 1950s era lighting fixtures on a pole nearest the gates. The work was done by Jack White, Joe Tubbs, and Ron Cruz.
Cruz indicated Manteca Lighting owner Chris Cefalu significantly reduced the cost of the two lights they were able to install.
Vandals have also stolen solar lighting near the wrought iron exterior fencing. In one instance, the key pad where the code is punched in to open the gate had been ripped off and tossed into the middle of Louise Avenue. A passing motorist saw it and retrieved it for the cemetery.
“We are hoping to get cameras in eventually as well as more lighting,” said Janice Zacharias, president of the East Union Cemetery Association.
Zacharias noted that any donation that would help the non-profit secure the cemetery would be appreciated.
The gate damage is especially disheartening given the association makes sure the cemetery gates are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily for visitors.
Board member Janet Fiore pointed out that most cemeteries in the area lock down at 4:30 p.m. when dusk occurs.
To find out how you can help the association enhance security or with other needs contact Zacharias at 603-7338 or Fiore at 275-0265.
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