Man arrested for carving letters into Lincoln Memorial with a penny, police say

A man has been arrested for vandalizing the Lincoln Memorial with a penny. (Left, AP Photo; Right, US Park Police Photo) 

Police arrested a man for vandalizing the Lincoln Memorial with a penny Monday, according to authorities.

An officer with the U.S. Park Police says that at around 1:09 p.m. he saw a man standing next to one of the pillars. He was later identified as Nurtilek Bakirov, 21, according to his Kyrgyz Republic passport.

As he got closer, the officers says he could see Bakirov holding a penny and using it to scratch something on the pillar. The officer says he got closer to the man and asked him what he was doing.

According to the officer, Bakirov said "sorry" and then started walking away. The officer said there was a letter "M" marked on the pillar where he was scratching.

The officer says he then told Bakirov to stop but the man walked toward another pillar. The officer order Bakirov to stop a second time, which he did, before again saying "sorry," according to authorities.

The man told the officer he "didn't know that you can't do that" in reference to his etching on the memorial.

"Am I in trouble for doing this," police say Bakirov asked.

Police say they found "HYPT" and "MEAK" carved into a pillar.

Bakirov is facing charges of Defacing Private/Public Property and Destruction of Property Greater than $1,000.

He has since been released and is due back in court in October.

Police say they have informed the Embassy of Kyrgyz Republic of Bakirov's arrest.

This comes after the monument was tagged with red spray paint that looked to proclaim "F*** Law" back in August.

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