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In this photo provided by Izzy Weiss, a broken headstone is seen at Washington Cemetery in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Sunday, March 5, 2017. The New York Police Department says no evidence of vandalism has been found at the predominantly Jewish cemetery where more than 40 tombstones were toppled over. The NYPD says after consultation with the management of the Washington Cemetery, it was determined the 42 tombstones came down as a result of a number of factors, including long-term neglect or lack of maintenance, as well as environmental factors such as soil erosion. (AP Photo/Izzy Weiss)

The NYPD determined tombstones at a Jewish cemetery were damaged by environmental causes


Tombstones that were toppled at a historic Jewish cemetery in New York over the weekend were damaged by environmental causes and not vandalism, the New York City Police Department determined. 

A hate-crime task force was assigned to determine whether damage at Washington Cemetery was intentional, CNN reports. 

On Sunday, that task force announced that soil erosion and lack of maintenance were the likely causes of the damage. 

News of the toppled tombstones comes as Jewish community centers, schools and cemeteries have increasingly become targeted with bomb threats and vandalism.

Dozens of headstones were disturbed at a Waad Hakolel Cemetery in Rochester, New York last week, prompting New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to launch a statewide investigation into the vandalism. Similar incidents occurred in St. Louis and Philadelphia. 

The NYPD determined tombstones at a Jewish cemetery were damaged by environmental causes

WATCH  |  New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo condemns anti-Semitism in the U.S.

Friday the FBI arrested a 31-year-old man in St. Louis, Missouri in connection with recent threats to Jewish community centers, schools, a museum and the Anti-Defamation League.

Juan Thompson is accused of stalking a former romantic interest and making bomb threats in her name. 

"We are committed to pursuing and prosecuting those who foment fear and hate through such criminal threats," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

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