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Polk County Sheriff’s detectives are seeking information on an unknown suspect or suspects who damaged 27 headstones at Bethel Baptist Church, 3125 W. Socrum Loop Road, Lakeland Florida.

“Years of family memories have been broken forever,” said Sheriff Grady Judd.  “We are asking the community’s help in finding the suspect or suspects who caused this damage.”

Between the hours of 9:30 p.m., Sunday, June 8, 2008, and 9:00 a.m., Monday, June 9, 2008, an unknown suspect or suspects trespassed onto the historic Bethel Baptist Church cemetery and intentionally toppled over and damaged twenty seven tomb stones located on the eastside of the cemetery.  A number of the tombstones reflect dates from the 1800’s.

If anyone has any information on this investigation, please contact Detective Kevin Matheny at 863.577.1623.



Anyone with information who wants to REMAIN ANONYMOUS and be eligible for a CASH REWARD is asked to call HEARTLAND CRIME STOPPERS AT 1-800-226-TIPS or log onto to submit your tip via the web. For a secure and password protected mobile app for your smart device, go to the app store and download the free “P3tips” mobile app. No caller ID, no recorded lines, no tracking cookies, no saved IP addresses. Anonymity is Guaranteed!!

Media Contact:                                                   Date: 6/10/2008