More than 200 gravestones and many other houses were spray-painted with swastikas during the weekend prior to Memorial Day (May 28).
According to KMOV, the first incident took place at the Sunset Hill Memorial Estates Cemetery in Glen Carbon, Illinois, which houses the graves of more than 1,300 veterans who were deployed in different countries.
Grounds Superintendent Mark Johnson confessed that he hadn’t seen anything similar in the three decades he has worked there. As soon as the act of vandalism was reported, the staff of the cemetery began cleaning the gravestones so they could be clean on Memorial Day.
Since the cemetery had planned a balloon release event for that day, they had to power wash the headstones so they were clean on time. The owner of the cemetery admitted that such incident made him want to install security cameras.
So far, the police have not revealed anything related to that crime. Apart from the act of vandalism in the cemetery, other nine houses and at least one car in a nearby neighborhood had the same problem.
Police were called there and they identified the same spray paint markings resembling swastikas. Thanks to the security cameras that one of the affected houses had, a man, who was the only possible suspect, was seen walking and talking on his phone at 2:15 am on May 26.
According to the video uploaded to the YouTube channel of KSDK News, the police found the criminal - a 34-year-old man. Thanks to the help of many citizens who noticed something suspicious about him, officers could identify and arrest him.
Before knowing who the criminal was, Edwardsville Police Department took to their Facebook page to release the house's surveillance video that showed the possible suspect and asked the public to contact them if they knew anything about that man.
It was not the first time that such thing happened before Memorial Day. In 2016, a Vietnam War memorial in Venice, Los Angeles, was spray-painted by Angel Castro, who was then sentenced to four years in state prison, reported Los Angeles Times.