LINCOLN, MAINE – It’s exactly the kind of story we don’t want to be reporting on Memorial Day Weekend.
Police are looking for help in finding whoever is responsible for desecrating the grave of an “American hero”.
They put up a Facebook post about the damage this week:
“MSG Gary Gordon is not only a hometown hero for Lincoln, he’s an American Hero!!” they said.
The vandalism to his gravestone is believed to have occurred sometime within the last 2 weeks.
“There has been talk that this may have been done as an additional honor, where Medal of Honor recipients have gold, inlaid to the engravings and that this is still a work in progress,” they said.
But if that’s the case, they said the family was never notified that this was happening.
Police are asking anyone with information about whoever is responsible – maliciously or with honorable intent – to please contact us at 794-2221.
They also warned that if this WAS an act of vandalism… the culprit had better step up.
“If you are the person who did this and did it as purely an act of vandalism, do the right thing and turn yourself in. Before we find you….. Thank you.”
In the meantime in Plymouth, Massachusetts, police have announced the arrest of a teenage suspect they believe to be responsible for defacing Plymouth Rock earlier this year.
The timing is probably not coincidental. Plymouth is commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing this year.
On February 17th, the famous rock with the year “1620” chiseled into the stone was spray painted with the caption “508 MOF”.
Several other landmarks nearby the rock, such as the Pilgrim Maiden and Four Fathers Monument, were also tainted with the same red spray paint.
Police noted that in total, there were 11 locations that were the subject of said vandalism.
On Thursday, February 27th, police stated that they had a suspect in custody that they allege to be the sole person responsible for all the graffiti. Authorities only identified the suspect as a 17-year-old male resident of Plymouth.
Police stated that he’s been charged with one count of trespassing and 11 counts of vandalism to property.
Investigators had identified the suspect after reviewing surveillance footage from several locations near and around the vandalized landmarks. Police had commented on the clean-up efforts of the crime, saying:
“The vandalism of these Historic Landmarks along with the other property was cleaned up within 24 hours due to the efforts of Plymouth DPW personnel, as well as volunteers from the community.”
Most, if not all, the vandalized landmarks and displays had the “508 MOF” tagging painted on them. While there’s been little explanation to what this means, it’s possible that it’s some kind of reference to a neighborhood clique or gang.
“508” happens to be an area code established that covers portions of Plymouth.
Hard Factor Wes, of Barstool Sports fame, had some funny words for those repping “508 MOF”:
“508 MOF gang is the softest gang in the world. Good luck protecting your turf with the street cred you gained by spraying a famous rock, what’s next for them, they gonna graffiti The Liberty Bell?”
So, what could be in store for the alleged juvenile vandal?
Turns out that Massachusetts has some stiff penalties for vandalism in their state.
If convicted of all counts of the vandalism charged, the minor could face up to three years in prison for every count and a fine assessed at three-times the value of every defaced item and monument.
It would be hard to determine the value of such monuments that were spray painted, but this 17-year-old won’t be thinking his shenanigans was that funny when reviewing the potential sentence he could face if convicted.
What police have not yet revealed is if this teen was also responsible for vandalizing a 9/11 memorial in Plymouth.
Here are the details of that destruction:
Dick Quintal took out a 2nd mortgage on his home to help fund a 9/11 memorial, completing the work in 2004. Local authorities notified Quintal that over the weekend, the tribute to the fallen of that dark day had been vandalized.
In a disgusting act of cowardice, hatred and ignorance, a statue of a police officer at the memorial was found toppled over and broken on Sunday. In addition, a lamp and electrical box that control lighting to the memorial were damaged. All of that coming a week after Plymouth Rock was vandalized, being tagged with graffiti.
Quintal, a former town selectman, said:
“At first I was angry, then I’m heartbroken. It’s just sad. People don’t know that families come here. I’ve met people from all over the country that come here.”
The statue of the officer, which stands alongside one of a firefighter and a piece of structural steal from one of the towers, was pushed over and beheaded. It was a gift from Quintal’s late father, replacing the original statue that was destroyed several years ago.
“My father actually got me the police officer statue the 2nd time, and now he’s not here,” said Quintal, obviously emotional.
“It’s completely uncalled for. I equate it with damaging a cemetery,” said Ken Tavares, the chairman of the Plymouth Board of Selectmen.
When asked what his message to the vandals would be, Tavares said:
“Stop. Completely unwarranted. Just think about it. If this had your family members name on the memorial, how would it make you feel?”
Police have made no determinations as to whether the two acts of vandalism are related.
Dozens of firefighters went to work to repair the memorial. More than two dozen members of the Plymouth Fire Local 1768 Union showed up to fix the damage. The replaced the American flags with new ones, added mulch and wiped down all of the granite stones, removing the winter wear.
“They can knock us down, but we will always get back up even stronger,” the union tweeted. “We are firefighters. We never forget.”
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