Tombstones toppled at Jewish cemetery in Frankford

A groundskeeper surveys headstones that were toppled at the Adath Jeshurun Cemetery in Frankford in 2015. According to police, five headstones were discovered toppled at the same cemetery this week.

A groundskeeper on Tuesday discovered five tombstones knocked over at a Jewish cemetery in Frankford, the second reported vandalism this year at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia.

According to police, the employee discovered the toppled gravestones at Adath Jeshurun Cemetery on the 1800 block of Bridge Street around 12:40 p.m. Police said the headstones had not been defaced by graffiti.

"When anything like this happens, it's very disappointing," said Bruce Armon, president of the cemetery's sponsoring synagogue, Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Elkins Park. "We want to make sure it remains a hallowed space."

No arrests were reported as of late Tuesday afternoon, and police did not identify a suspect or a motive.

In February, vandals toppled and broke more than 100 headstones about a half-mile away at Mount Carmel Jewish Cemetery in Wissinoming. The vandalism made headlines worldwide in light of a similar incident at a Jewish cemetery a week earlier in St. Louis.

But despite a standing reward of $68,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the Mount Carmel vandalism, that case remains unsolved.

This is not the first time vandals have struck at Adath Jeshurun Cemetery. In August 2015, at least 124 tombstones were toppled there. That case also remains unsolved.

Armon said the cemetery's groundskeeper, John Gibson, lives on the property and was the first to notice the damage in 2015 and on Tuesday. The cemetery has no surveillance cameras, Armon said.

The synagogue will contact the families of those whose headstones were toppled, he said.

"Our groundskeeper will get the stones repaired and get the cemetery back where it needs to be to honor all the people there," Armon said.