Harrisburg man arrested after setting plastic wreaths on fire, “trying to save the earth” on Christmas Eve

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February 04 2022 08:00 am

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Deputy State Fire Marshals arrested a Pennsylvania man after he set multiple Christmas wreaths on fire at a Hagerstown cemetery early Christmas Eve.

Peter J. Custer, 43, of Harrisburg, Pa. has been charged with Second Degree Malicious Burning, Malicious Destruction of Property Under $1,000, and Trespassing on Private Property.

Custer referenced during his arrest that he “was trying to save the earth and that plastic wreaths were non-biodegradable”, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal.

During his arrest, Custer referenced that he was trying to save the earth and that plastic wreaths were non-biodegradable. 

Just after 1 a.m., witnessed called 911 after driving by Cedar Lawn Memorial Park in Hagerstown and saw Custer by a fire.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office responded and came to the conclusion that Cluster took plastic wreaths from about three or more graves, placed them on an access road in the cemetery and intentionally set them on fire.

“This desecration at Cedar Lawn Memorial Park is morally wrong. Disturbing final resting places is contemptible, criminal and will not be tolerated,” stated State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci. 

Custer was taken to the Washington County Detention Center and was later released on his own recognizance after appearing before a District Court Commissioner.

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