Hillside Cemetery upgrades security

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - When historic headstones were toppled over in November, it sparked public outrage.

"It is gut-wrenching to have that happen," said Jay Carter. His family is buried at Hillside Cemetery in Reno, just west of the University of Nevada, Reno.

Though none of the destroyed monuments belonged to his loved ones, he knows what it feels like to have his family's gravesites vandalized.

"It used to be a tradition for people to steal monuments and take them home," said Carter.

The vandals were never caught. But in the midst of this crime came a silver lining.

"The outreach of the community has been outstanding," said President of the Hillside Cemetery Preservation Foundation Frances Tryon, "We are getting people that are showing more of an interest in this wonderful old cemetery."

Tryon said the cemetery has not been vandalized since the incident.

"We have had no other damage," said Tryon, "So hopefully the message is getting out that this is not appropriate."

Tryon said they have installed motion-activated cameras and hid them around the cemetery. She said they want to catch people who have the intent of damaging the gravesites.

"We have got to be proactive about protecting our history," said Tryon.

The monuments that were destroyed can never be fully restored. But they were fixed thanks to the help of Mountain View Cemetery.

"The expense was going to be huge but Mountain View Cemetery volunteers did not charge any of the families," said Tryon.

There is another issue involving gravesites the cemetery is trying to fix, and KOLO 8 News Now will have that story next week.