Man Repeatedly Vandalizes Childhood Friend’s Tombstone over 56-year-Old Grudge

They say time heals or wounds, but that’s definitely not true. Just ask Paul E. Donovan Jr., who admitted to repeatedly vandalizing the tombstone of a childhood friend against whom he had been holding a grudge for over five decades.

69-year-old Donovan, of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of institutional vandalism of a cemetery, last week. He had been arrested and charged with theft and vandalism in November 2015, after police identified him as the perpetrator of “at least four” acts of vandalism against a single tombstone in the Saint Matthews Cemetery in Whitemarsh.

The investigation in this truly bizarre case began in march of 2014, when a woman reported that her father’s tombstone had the name “John” written over it in orange spray paint, according to the criminal complaint. On April 29, 2014, the same tombstone was vandalized again with the same name in the same color spray paint, the woman told Whitemarsh police. Then, in December, a third complaint revealed that someone had poured a “tar-like substance” over the tombstone, which prompted police to set up hidden cameras to catch the vandal in the act.


Photo: NBC 10 video screengrab

In May 2015, the cameras recorded someone stealing the lights that had been placed near the tombstone to deter the mysterious vandal. Police were finally able to identify Paul E. Donovan Jr. as the villain in this story, in November last year, after he covered the last name of the deceased on the tombstone with black spray paint. he immediately confessed to the crime, but his motive really shocked the police.

“The suspect claims that 56 years ago when the deceased was 10 and this subject was 12, he claims that the [deceased] stole money from him and 56 years later he was getting back at him,” Lieutenant Christopher Ward told NBC 10. “So for 56 years he lived with this grudge. He only realized that he had passed away within the last two years.” It was later revealed that the two had actually been childhood friends, until Donovan accused the deceased of stealing $300 from a wooden box in his room. I guess he never got over it.


Photo: NBC 10 video screengrab

At the time of his arrest, Donovan told police officers that he would “pay back any restitution minus the $300 he was owed over 56 years ago.”

Last week, a judge sentenced Paul E. Donovan Jr. to two years of probation and ordered him to pay $1,500 in restitution to the family of the deceased. He was also warned to stay well clear of the tombstone he vandalized over the last two years.

via Nothing to Do with Arbroath

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