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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.

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