ROME (JTA) – Police identified four young teenagers as the vandals who smashed or toppled scores of Catholic and Jewish gravestones in Rome’s Verano cemetery.
According to the Italian news agency ANSA, the four were aged 13 and 14 and came from “good families.”
Surveillance videos filmed them smashing headstones, tombs, and memorials in four sections of the cemetery, including the Jewish section, on Thursday night. The damage was discovered Friday morning during an inspection before the Verano cemetery opened.
Investigators said it appeared that the teens had gone on the rampage after remaining locked in the cemetery after closing time. A caretaker they called on a cell phone to let them out, as yet unaware of the damage, took down their names before opening the gate to allow them to exit.
Rome newspapers said there was no apparent motive for the rampage other than “boredom.” Some media speculated that the youths had been inspired by a videogame.