A Harrisburg man is said to have collected wreaths from grave sites in a cemetery in Hagerstown, Md., On Christmas Eve and set the decorations on fire.
Peter J. Custer, 43, is charged with second degree arson, malicious destruction of property and trespassing, according to a press release from the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office.
“Witnesses called 911 just after 1:00 a.m. after driving near Cedar Lawn Memorial Park in Hagerstown and seeing Custer standing by a fire,” the statement said.
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The Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the State Fire Marshal’s Office investigated “and concluded that Custer took plastic wreaths from three or more burial sites, placed them on an access road and intentionally set the crowns on fire ”.
Upon his arrest, Custer said “he was trying to save the earth and plastic crowns were not biodegradable.”
Custer was transported to the Washington County Detention Center and later released on his own recognizance after appearing before a district court commissioner, the statement said.