Illinois Police: Man Spray Painted Swastikas on 200 Gravestones


(AP) A man is in police custody for spray painting swastikas on as many as 200 gravestones at an Illinois cemetery.

Authorities in southwestern Illinois arrested a 34-year-old unidentified man Saturday who has yet to be charged.

The man is also suspected of spray-painting the Nazi symbol on several homes in the Edwardsville area.

“We haven’t seen anything of this magnitude in the 30 years that I’ve been here,” Mark Johnson, the grounds superintendent of Sunset Hill Cemetery, told KMOV.

The Sunset Hills Cemetery in Glen Carbon is the resting place for more than`1,300 veterans.

Johnson says the vandalism was discovered Saturday morning and now cemetery officials are working to wash the headstones before a Memorial Day event planned for Monday.

“It’s all hands on deck to try to get this thing cleaned up by Monday,” said Johnson.

“To disrespect the dead like that…I mean, it just ain’t right,” John Lake told KMOV.

Lake said he stopped by the cemetery to see if his relatives’ headstones were among those vandalized.

Edwardsville police Sgt. Justin Towell said multiple homes in a subdivision were also vandalized.

He said the suspect in custody may be responsible for both incidents.