PLYMOUTH, Mass. – “Why? Why? Why would someone do this?” Gayle Manning asked as she looked down at vandalized Plymouth Rock on Monday morning.
She was one of many who traveled to the Plymouth waterfront to express disgust over the overnight damage to the landmark and other waterfront monuments by vandals wielding cans of spray paint.
Police Chief Michael Botieri said Plymouth Rock, the Pilgrim Maiden statue, a memorial granite bench and at least four of the Scallop Roll statues scattered about the waterfront by the Plymouth Area Chamber of Commerce were tagged with paint.
Similar graffiti, including an obscene message aimed at police, was found more than a mile away at the base of the state-owned National Monument to the Forefathers.
Much of the Plymouth Rock graffiti was indecipherable smears of paint, Botieri said, but several of the landmarks were tagged with the numbers and letters 508 MOF.
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Police detectives reviewed surveillance video from the area in hopes of identifying the vandals, Botieri said. Police searched along the rocky waterfront for discarded paint containers.
Botieri said there does not appear to be any political connection to the graffiti, but some who gathered at Plymouth Rock on Monday morning wondered.
Manning noted that the graffiti occurred on Presidents Day and in 2020, which is the 400th anniversary of the pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock.
Maintenance crews from the town and the state set to work Monday cleaning up the graffiti with power washers and a solvent used to clean previous vandalism.
Plymouth Rock has been targeted occasionally over the years, sometimes by people with a political agenda.
Botieri acknowledged that this vandalism was beyond the scope of past tagging incidents.
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