GLEN CARBON, Ill. (KMOV.com) – Officers in the Metro East have arrested a 34-year-old man after he allegedly spray-painted swastikas at a community cemetery over the weekend.
Saturday morning, police were called after black spray paint was found on numerous headstones and a building at the Sunset Hills Cemetery in Glen Carbon. Officials estimate over 200 tombstones were painted with images resembling a swastika.
“We haven't seen anything of this magnitude in the 30 years that I've been here,” said Mark Johnson, the grounds superintendent of Sunset Hill Cemetery.
“To disrespect the dead like that...I mean, it just ain't right,” said John Lake, who stopped by the cemetery on Saturday morning to see if his family that is buried here was affected by this vandalism.
The cemetery is the resting place of over 1,300 veterans.
Cemetery officials said they power washed the headstones to remove the paint before their Memorial Day balloon release event Monday.
It's all hands on deck to try to get this thing cleaned up by Monday,” said Johnson.
The cemetery owner said the vandalism has made him want to install security cameras.
Police were also called to a nearby neighborhood after the same spray paint markings were seen on nine homes and at least one vehicle. One of the homes that was targeted captured a possible suspect on surveillance video.
“It's a complete disregard for people's personal property,” said Kent Marty, who lives in the neighborhood that was vandalized in Edwardsville. He saw the damage during his early morning walk.
Police in Glen Carbon and Edwardsville are investigating the vandalism.
Officers with the Edwardsville Police Department later released the home's surveillance video of the possible suspect. Anyone with information is urged to call police at 618-656-2131.
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