PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania -- Dozens of headstones, possibly more than 100, were toppled at a Jewish cemetery in an act of vandalism that was discovered Sunday morning, reports say.
It's the second time in a week that Jewish cemetery has been vandalized after as many as 200 headstones were toppled at a location in a suburb of St. Louis, Mo. Also last week, bomb threats were called in to several Jewish Community Centers nationwide, including one in Beachwood. JCC's have been targeted by threats several times since the beginning of the year.
Reports estimate 75 to just over 100 headstones were vandalized at Mount Carmel Jewish Cemetery in northeastern Philadelphia, likely occurring late Saturday night.
"Your stomach just drops," Stacy Silver, 50, of Cherry Hill, N.J., tells philly.com. "I mean, it's just horrible." Tombstones belonging to Silver's mother and great-grandmother were knocked over.
Police in Philadelphia are investigating the incident. According to the New York Times, three groups have offered a combined $13,000 for information leading to the arrests of those responsible.
"It's criminal. This is beyond vandalism," Northeast Detectives Capt. Shawn Thrush tells philly.com. "It's beyond belief."
While Donald Trump issued a statement last week condemning the vandalism in Missouri, the Anne Frank Center on Sunday issued a statement on Twitter saying the president must be more forceful in denouncing hate crimes, according to philly.com.
"Mr. President, it's time for you to deliver a prime-time nationally televised speech, live from the Oval Office, on how you intend to combat not only #Antisemitism but also Islamophobia and other rising forms of hate," the statement said. "Whether or not your intention, your Presidency has given the oxygen of incitement to some of the most viciously hateful elements of our society."
Jewish graves in Philadelphia now vandalized. Stop this incubator of #Antisemitism and other hate. WE BEG YOU @POTUS @realDonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/RHuIjdE2Yg-- AnneFrankCenter(US) (@AnneFrankCenter) February 26, 2017
Philadelphia's mayor, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Bob Casey all spoke out against the vandalism.
"My heart breaks for the families who found their loved ones' headstones toppled this morning," Mayor Jim Kenney said, according to the Wall Street Journal. "We are doing all we can to find the perpetrators who desecrated this final resting place, and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money to repair the headstones. It had raised nearly $10,000 as of late Sunday.
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