A man is behind bars after reportedly destroying numerous crosses in "one of the premier veteran displays in the country" two days before Memorial Day.
On May 28, someone drove through the display in Central Park in Henderson, Kentucky, and damaged more than 160 crosses, WFIE reports.
"It’s disturbing," a local resident told WFIE. "Somebody just has no respect."
"Almost fell out of my chair," another man commented. "I can’t believe someone would do this."
This display is a 70-year-old tradition started by the father of Tom Davis, who works with The Henderson War Memorial Foundation.
"I don’t think any other town our size has this much of a veterans awareness," Davis told WFIE.
In 1946, only 34 crosses adorned the park. Today, more than 5,000 crosses are prominently displayed.
"We monitor people who pass away during the year to make sure they have a cross the next year," Davis explained.
Local residents are outraged at the disrespect shown to the town’s veterans through this incident.
"I think they should be prosecuted," said James Frey with American Legion. "It’s almost like a hate crime."
"Why would anyone want to disrespect a veteran?" James Hanley asked. "I don’t understand."
A committee worked all weekend to repair the damaged crosses in time for Memorial Day.
The American Legion offered a $1,200 reward for information leading to the arrest. According to the Henderson Police Department Facebook page, the community worked together to lead to the arrest of the primary suspect, 27-year-old Anthony Burrus.
"Thank you to our officers, 911 Dispatchers, Henderson County Sheriff's Deputies, FB posts, and tips called in," the police department wrote on Facebook. "Together, all this information lead to an arrest. Thank you to our soldiers at Ft. Campbell who have reached out to help us in any way we may need. Please join us at Central Park for the Memorial Service Monday at 10am. God Bless America."
The vehicle Anthony Burrus’ was reportedly driving was discovered abandoned with pieces of crosses and stakes stuck in its tires, reports WFIE. He is facing charges of first-degree criminal mischief and leaving the scene of an accident.