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Would-be thieves target historic cemetery in Wyandotte that is maintained by volunteers

Posted at 6:14 PM, Feb 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-16 18:27:05-05

WYANDOTTE, Mich. (WXYZ) — "I enjoy preserving people's stories," said Mary-Johna Wein as she stood in the middle of Wyandotte's historic Oakwood Cemetery. "You know, these people in here have been forgotten for hundreds of years."

Wein is the board president for the Wyandotte Historical Society as well as the non-profit cemetery on Biddle Avenue.

Eight days ago, Wein got word that someone may have been off-roading through the 200-year-old cemetery that has been the final resting place for people who have passed on but still have a place in the heart of volunteers like Wein, who joined the historical society 14 years ago at the age of 18.

"People often forget about our past. But here, the past kind of comes to life," Wein said, not far away from the damage to the grounds caused by someone or more than one person who tried to break into a shed on the property.

"We have nothing in the shed but some headstone cleaning supplies," said Wein.

The people responsible broke bricks and caused heavy damage to the landscaping because the ground was too soft and no doubt created a muddy mess for the would-be thieves to just free their vehicle.

"I was very upset," said Dan Galeski, a former detective sergeant and councilman who now serves on the boards for the non-profit cemetery and the historical society.

Galeski, Wein, and other volunteers have been making repairs to the grounds since it was damaged.

And they're hoping the person or people don't return.

"We work hard here and we we try to maintain that as much as possible because we have no funding," said Galeski.

"There's nothing to gain from this," Wein said. "We are a cemetery, and what we're doing is trying to preserve history. If it was your family, you would not want this to happen to them."