Reward offered for cemetery vandalism

A $5,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to a conviction for whoever is responsible for damaging 50 monuments and grave sites at Crystal Valley Cemetery in Manitou Springs last month. (Courtesy photo/City of Manitou Springs)

Concerned residents have offered up a $5,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction of vandals who struck grave sites at the Crystal Valley Cemetery in Manitou Springs on May 26.

Vandals toppled or tampered with more than 50 monuments, authorities said, and large amounts of trash and a small burn area were found on the grounds in the week leading up to Memorial Day. Police continue to investigate the incident.

Crystal Valley, established in 1890 at 502 Plainview Place, is Manitou Springs' sole cemetery. Dr. Isaac Davis, an English physician and one of the city's founders, donated the land in 1882. Graves were relocated from the town's original cemetery on Pawnee Avenue.

The city maintains the site, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is recognized for its architectural significance, landscaping and important people for whom it's the final resting place.

One unusual monument in the cemetery is that of Freddie Schnieder, who died in 1887 at age 2. A Kinney cast iron fence designed to look like a child's bed surrounds the grave and has a round marble 'pillow' inscribed with Freddie's identification and cast iron tassels hanging from draped chains. 

The reward is being handled by Pikes Peak Crime Stoppers, a nonprofit organization that enables anonymous, confidential reporting of criminal activity in southern Colorado.

Anyone who has information about this crime or others can call the hotline at 634-7867. Reporters will not be asked for their identity but will be assigned a code number.

Information also can be shared at the website,

Should a conviction result from the information provided, the reward also will be available to be claimed on an anonymous basis.

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.


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