Authorities arrested a man from the Kyrgyz Republic for vandalizing the Lincoln Memorial Monday in Washington, D.C.
A U.S. park police officer caught Nurtilek Bakirov, 21, using a penny to scratch letters into a pillar of the Lincoln Memorial. The officer reportedly witnessed Bakirov committing the act and immediately confronted the man.
Bakirov said “sorry” and then began to walk away, according to the officer. The officer then told Bakirov to stop but the man did not and continued to walk towards another pillar. The officer ordered Bakirov to stop a second time, and he apparently complied.
“HYPT MAEK” was carved into the fifth pillar on the north side of the Lincoln Memorial. It is still unclear what the etched letters mean. Bakirov reportedly told the office he “didn’t know that you can’t do that.”
— Tim Barber (@ABC7TimBarber) September 19, 2017
Bakirov had a passport for the Kyrgyz Republic, also known as Kyrgyzstan, on him. Kyrgystan is a former Soviet Republic in Central Asia that borders western China. Bakirov is reportedly a student in the U.S., although it is still unknown which college he attends. (RELATED: Lincoln Memorial Vandalized With Red Spray Paint)
Officials arrested and charged Bakirov with malicious destruction of property. If convicted, the maximum penalty he faces is 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. He was released Tuesday after seeing a judge and ordered to return to court to face charges in October.
The Lincoln Memorial was also vandalized in August. The National Park Service discovered graffiti around 4:30 am on August 15th and is working on restoring the monument. Photos of this incident show the vandal spray painted “f**k law” in red paint on one of the pillars of the monument.
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