A Virginia woman says she was near the Lincoln Memorial early Friday morning just moments after someone splattered paint on the monument.
U.S. Park Police said clean-up efforts will continue Monday after an unknown person splattered green paint on the base and lap of the statue of Lincoln inside the Lincoln Memorial.
Officials said crews put a cleaning solution on the statue Saturday afternoon and tried to power wash the statue. They were able to get some of the paint off the granite base, but are having a hard time removing the paint from the marble statue.
The memorial was closed early Saturday while President Barack Obama delivered a speech at the nearby Korean War Veterans Memorial at 10 a.m.
Police have surveillance video of the vandal, and are now seeking a person of interest, sources tell News4.
A visitor saw the paint on the statue and on the floor around it just before 1:30 a.m. Friday. Jamie McDaniel, from Stafford, Va., told News 4 she and a friend called Park Police when they discovered the paint.
McDaniel said there was also Mountain Dew bottles containing some paint as well as green footprints leading up to the statue.
This is not the first time vandalism has been reported at the site of one of the National Mall's memorials.
Back in 2007, an oily substance was found on the memorial wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Police determined the case to be an act of vandalism and not an accident, The Washington Post reported. The removal process took weeks to complete.
Two additional incidents of vandalism have been reported at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the past. In 1993, the directory stands at the entrance of the memorial were burned, and a swastika and scratches were found etched in two of the memorials panels in 1988. Both panels were replaced.
The Lincoln Memorial, which was dedicated in 1922, is open to the public 24 hours a day.
U.S. Park Police Union President Ian Glick released the following statement:
"This type of reprehensible act is unfortunate but it did not permanently damage the memorial and this incident further underscores the need for the National Park Service to provide more funding and more personnel so as to provide a higher level of deterrence through officer presence. We are fortunate that this deplorable act can be remedied but caution that we are lucky that this wasn't an act of terrorism."
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