Nathan Anderson Cemetery

Ringgold police are investigating a vandalism incident that occurred at the Nathan Anderson Cemetery on LaFayette Street. (Catoosa News photo/Adam Cook)

A flag pole and headstones were vandalized in Ringgold at the Nathan Anderson Cemetery on LaFayette Street, police say.

According to the Ringgold Police Department, the incident happened sometime during the night of Saturday, April 21, and the morning of Sunday, April 22.

Ronald Eslinger, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (Cleburne Camp 2209), says he noticed the damage Sunday afternoon and quickly notified the police.

"They messed up the confederate flagpole," Eslinger said. "Somebody come up there and tore the latch off the pole and stole the flag. They broke monuments, turned over some stuff, and stole stick flags from graves. Around the flagpole is where they did all the damage."

Ringgold Police Chief Dan Bilbrey says officers have inquired with nearby businesses to see if any surveillance footage of the incident exists.

After notifying police of the incident, Eslinger says he found remnants of small flags dropped on the ground through the cemetery, which lead to a nearby hotel.

"It looked like they dropped them as they were going to the motel," Eslinger said. "I think it was somebody in the motel or somebody going across the parking lot to the cemetery."

Two gravestones were broken in half, with a couple of others kicked over, reports show.

Eslinger says he's offering a reward for information regarding the incident.

"We're offering a $500 reward for the arrest and conviction of person or persons that done it," Eslinger said. "It takes a sorry person to desecrate a grave."

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact the Ringgold Police Department at 706-935-3066.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009. He can be reached at The Catoosa County News office at 706-935-2621 and by email at acook@npco.com.

Reporter