Police arrest person of interest in Lincoln Memorial vandalism

WASHINGTON (AP) — A woman was arrested Monday after green paint was found splattered inside two chapels at the Washington National Cathedral, and police were investigating her in connection with two similar incidents on the National Mall, authorities said.

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NBC Washington – The woman arrested for vandalizing the National Cathedral Monday is a person of interest in last week’s vandalism of the Lincoln Memorial, sources told NBCWashington.

Jiamei Tian, 58, was arrested Monday afternoon after allegedly covering the National Cathedral’s organ inside the historic Bethlehem Chapel, as well as the Children’s Chapel on the main level, with green paint. That evening, the Cathedral reopened to the public, but the Children’s Chapel remained closed as crews repaired the damage.

The cathedral is one of four Washington landmarks vandalized with green paint in recent days, NBCWashington has learned. Just three days after paint was found splattered at the Lincoln Memorial, a similar substance was discovered Monday on a statue memorializing Joseph Henry, the first secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and the Luther Place Memorial Church at Thomas Circle.

Green paint was found on a statue of Martin Luther outside of the church, as well as an organ inside. The vandalism was found Sunday after the church’s noon service. Witnesses told News4 the woman they saw at the church Sunday matches the exact description of Tian.

Tian, of no fixed address, was found in the Children’s Chapel Monday. Sources say she was found with paint on her clothing and hands and a container of paint in one of her bags. She got loud during the arrest but did not resist and was charged with defacing property.

Paint was also found on the front and back of the Joseph Henry statue’s pedestal. The statue is located outside the Smithsonian castle, near the merry-go-round on the National Mall.

While the paint at the Lincoln was splattered on, the paint on the Henry statue resembles finger painting. It’s unclear when the statue was vandalized. U.S. Park Police were alerted Monday morning to that incident.

U.S. Park Police are investigating whether the case at the Henry statue is linked to the incident at the Lincoln Memorial, Linda St. Thomas of the Smithsonian told News4.

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