The tombstone of a World War I veteran who is laid to rest at Oak Hill Cemetery in Booneville was toppled over last week.

Already a problem, vandalism at Oak Hill Cemetery intensified early last week with the tipping over of about 15 head stones, including that of Samuel A. Roberts.

The stone for Roberts, who passed away in 1964, and his wife Edith Jones Roberts, who passed away in 1991, was one of three in one row toppled.

Otherwise the damage appears to be random as the stones vandalized have different surnames, are from varying decades and are from different areas of the cemetery.

Booneville Police Chief Al Brown said last week said vandals have typically damaged two or three tombstones at a time before the most recent spree.

Because the damage is mounting, Brown said catching the responsible person or parties has become more of a priority.

“There are so many places to get in there,” said Brown. “We’re about to come up with something to see if we can catch somebody, but it’s so hit-or-miss we don’t know when or where or what area they’re going to be in.”

Brown said prior to last week’s incident it has been a month or longer since a vandal strike.

While some of the stones are simply returned to their position, larger stones require much more work.

“The bigger ones the mayor has to have someone with a backhoe, put some straps around them,” said Brown.

“It’s aggravating and whoever is doing it is sorry,” added Brown.