Washington DC's 'Green Bandit' Vandalism Suspect Arrested
WASHINGTON - A woman was arrested today for allegedly throwing green paint on the organ, walls and a mural at the National Cathedral, and investigators are looking into whether she is the same person who splashed similar paint on the Lincoln Memorial and a statue of the first Smithsonian secretary.
The three acts of vandalism were all committed within the last four days, and had baffled officials.
In the latest incident, the organ in the Bethlehem Chapel of the iconic cathedral located in the northwest section of the nation's capitol was doused with green paint today.
"The paint was strewn over the chapel's organ console and casework and was discovered still wet, leaving officials to believe the vandalism had just recently occurred," The Cathedral said in a statement released today.
When Metropolitan Police detectives arrived they found splattered paint on a mural in an area of the Cathedral and paint splattered on walls and an organ in another area of the Cathedral. National Cathedral security personnel had detained a woman as a person of interest.
Jiamei Tian, 58, of no fixed address, was arrested and charged with defacing property, according to police. They were investigating whether she was involved in any of the other cases of vandalism.
The discovery came three days after police were alerted to a disturbing sight - green paint splattered on the Lincoln Memorial statue on the National Mall. The statue is one of the city's most popular tourist destinations. It was quickly cleaned of the green paint, and it re-opened to the public by Friday night.
Park police today also found green paint on a statue of Joseph Henry, the Smithsonian's first secretary, outside the Smithsonian headquarters.
Assistant Chief Peter Newsham told the Associated Press that if convicted, the woman would likely have to deal with destruction of property charges for the National Cathedral incident.
Cleaning of the organ has already begun, and a source said the church will be able to remove most if not all of the paint because of how quickly it was discovered.
The cathedral will open with normal hours Tuesday, and "The Beauty of Holiness: A Cathedral Music Event," which was scheduled for Monday night, will continue as planned.