Pennsylvania man arrested for burning wreaths at Hagerstown cemetery

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A Harrisburg man was arrested for setting Christmas wreaths on fire in a cemetery in Hagerstown, Md., In the early morning of December 24.

Maryland Deputy Fire Marshals arrested a Harrisburg, Pa. Man in the early morning hours of Christmas Eve for burning Christmas wreaths in a cemetery in Hagerstown, Maryland.

When questioned, Peter Custer, 43, said he took the crowns because he was trying to save the earth and that the plastic crowns were not biodegradable, according to a statement from the Maryland Fire Marshal.

Custer has been charged with second degree malicious arson, destruction of property and trespassing for burning wreaths in three or more cemetery plots at Cedar Lawn Memorial Park.



Drivers called 911 just after 1 a.m. when they saw a man standing near a fire on one of the cemetery access roads, firefighters said.

Investigators from the Fire Marshal and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office investigated, but were unable to find out which graves the wreaths came from.

“To disturb the final resting places is despicable, criminal and will not be tolerated,” Field Marshal Brian S. Geraci said in a statement.

Authorities took Custer to the Washington County Detention Center. He was later released after appearing before a district court commissioner.

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