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Harrisburg Man Arrested After Burning Cemetery Christmas Wreaths

December 25th, 2021 by WCBC Radio

 Deputy State Fire Marshals arrested a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania man early Christmas Eve after setting multiple Christmas wreaths on fire at a local Hagerstown cemetery. 

Peter J. Custer, 43, is charged with Second Degree Malicious Burning, Malicious Destruction of Property Under $1,000, and Trespassing on Private Property. Witnesses called 911 just after 1:00 a.m., after driving by Cedar Lawn Memorial Park in Hagerstown and saw Custer standing by a fire. 

Washington County Sheriff's Office and the Office of the State Fire Marshal responded and concluded that Custer took plastic wreaths from three or more burial plots, placed them on an access road, and intentionally set the wreaths on fire. Investigators could not determine the exact plot where each wreath had been taken. During his arrest, Custer referenced that he was trying to save the earth and that plastic wreaths were non-biodegradable. 

"This desecration at Cedar Lawn Memorial Park is morally wrong. Disturbing final resting places is contemptible, criminal and will not be tolerated," stated State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci. 

Custer was transported to Washington County Detention Center and later released on his own recognizance after appearing before a District Court Commissioner.