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Teen Arrested For Vandalizing Boston Holocaust Memorial

BOSTON (CBS) – For the second time this summer, the Holocaust Memorial in Boston has been vandalized. Boston Police say a 17-year-old boy from Malden allegedly smashed a glass panel at the memorial on Union Street Monday night.

Witnesses say they saw him throw a rock at the memorial around 6:30 p.m.

"I saw this guy running around the corner dressed in all black," one witness told WBZ-TV. "It was a dozen people chasing him. The world's gone crazy."

Holocaust Memorial vandalized
A man was arrested for smashing a glass panel at Boston's Holocaust Memorial (WBZ-TV)

The suspect was detained by two bystanders until police arrived at the scene. Witnesses said they heard the suspect ranting incoherently.

"I'm grateful for the quick response and the community help which led to the swift arrest of the suspect responsible for the damage done to the Holocaust Memorial," Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said.

Over the weekend, a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville led to the death of one woman and injuries to 19 others.

The teen's name has not been released. He will be charged with the Willful & Malicious Destruction of Property. The Boston Police Civil Rights Unit is also investigating to determine if additional charges are pending.

The panels on the memorial's six towers are etched with millions of numbers that represent tattoos on the arms of the Jews murdered by the Nazis.

Holocaust Memorial
A man was arrested for smashing a glass panel at Boston's Holocaust Memorial (WBZ-TV)

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he was saddened to see "such a despicable action in this great city."

The memorial was rededicated in July after a 21-year-old man who authorities say suffers from mental illness threw a rock through one of the panels.

"And now that this has happened twice in one summer it cannot be a coincidence," said Jeremy Burton of the Jewish Community Relations Council. Burton's group oversees the memorial and points to the weekend's neo-Nazi violence in Virginia and fears a disturbing trend.

"That we have seen Nazism rise again in this country and be marching out in the open with faces uncovered in way that I never thought I'd be seeing in my lifetime."

When the memorial was built more than 20 years ago, the organizers knew vandalism was possible and they created extra panels.

"It's horrific, it's terrible," one man visiting from Miami told WBZ-TV. "You come here to pay your respects, you don't want to be reminded about the hate and evil."

When the glass was shattered in June, it was replaced in just two weeks. The pane smashed Monday is bigger and might take longer.

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