A student from the Kyrgyz Republic was arrested this Monday after engraving the letters "HYPT MAEK" into the fifth pillar on the north side of the Lincoln Memorial, reports FOX 5 DC.
The suspect was identified as Nurtilek Bakirov, 21, and he faces the charges of malicious destruction of property. Officials claim that Bakirov could face up to 10 years in prison as well as a $25,000 fine. Since the vandalism occurred, the National Park Service issued a statement on their plans to fix the structure.
"We are still evaluating possible options. This type of damage is in some ways more difficult to address than something on the surface like a paint or a graffiti of that nature," said architectural conservator Justine Bello.
She added, "We'll have some different options over the next days and weeks to see what if any course of action there is to take, but until we know what that course of action is we can't really comment on the level of effort of amount of money that would be involved to do so."
According to WTOP, a US Park Police officer spotted the man using the penny to carve the letters into the monument before apprehending him. This comes after two other incidents of vandalism on the Lincoln Memorial.
Last month, one of the pillars at the monument was found with the words "F--- law" written in red spray paint. NPS spokesman Mike Litterst said, "It's frustrating, not only for the Park Service but certainly for the visitors that come here, that anyone would vandalize any of our iconic memorials. Especially the Lincoln Memorial. Especially with everything that's going on now -- the calls for unity and people to come together,"
In addition to that, another act of vandalism hit the monument with a cryptic message written in permanent marker. The messages included the words "Jackie shot JFK" and references to the 9/11 attacks, while other scribbles remain illegible.
Unfortunately, the vandalism is something of a trend in 2017 with many monuments being vandalized or ripped down. That doesn't spell a very optimistic future for the Lincoln Memorial and the National Monuments Service tasked with its upkeep.
Thank you for supporting MRCTV! As a tax-deductible, charitable organization, we rely on the support of our readers to keep us running! Keep MRCTV going with your gift here!