Maryland authorities on Friday arrested a Pennsylvania man accused of stealing and burning wreaths from a Hagerstown cemetery.
Witnesses called 911 after seeing Peter J. Custer, 43, standing near a fire as they drove past Cedar Hill Memorial Park just after 1 a.m., according to the state fire marshal. Maryland.
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The Washington County Sheriff’s Office and State Fire Marshal said Custer “referred to the fact that he was trying to save the earth and the plastic wreaths weren’t biodegradable.”
Custer is accused of taking the wreaths from multiple burial plots, placing them on an access road and setting them on fire, authorities said.
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“This desecration of Cedar Lawn Memorial Park is morally wrong. Disturbing the final resting places is despicable, criminal, and will not be tolerated,” State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci said in a statement Friday.
The 43-year-old was charged with malicious arson, malicious destruction of property and trespass. He was taken into custody and then released “on his own responsibility after appearing before a district court commissioner“, according to the fire marshal.