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Washington DC Cathedral Vandal Is Arrested: Mandarin Translator Required
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July 31, 2013, 02:46 AM
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Now that the Washington, DC, paint vandal has been caught, the media has seemingly lost interest in the shocking story of damage done to the Lincoln Memorial and other beloved national treasures. Perhaps the accused perp’s diverse identity has something to do with the sudden quiet. Were the scribblers hoping against all reason that the defacer was a Tea Party member?

In fact, the arrested person is Jiamei Tian (pictured), 58, who was arrested with a soda can filled with green paint and whose clothes were spattered with the telltale color. She was identified by her Chinese passport and recently expired visa.

The green paint attacks in recent days included the Lincoln Memorial, a statue near the Smithsonian castle and the National Cathedral. Tian is thought by police to be connected to the other vandalism.

For a brief time, reports said there was a “language barrier” with the arrested person. On Tuesday, a Mandarin interpreter was brought to court.

Woman charged in vandalism at National Cathedral ordered held without bond, CNN, July 30, 2013

Washington (CNN) — A woman arrested in connection with the splattering of paint in two locations inside the National Cathedral in Washington was ordered held without bond Tuesday.

Jia Mei Tian, 58, has been charged with felony destruction of property. When officers arrested her on Monday, she had green paint on her clothes and shoes, and paint cans were found in three bags she had with her, according to a police report obtained by CNN.

If found guilty, she could face up to 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Tian will be kept in custody at least until a second hearing, which is scheduled for Friday morning.

That hearing will determine whether there is probable cause to continue to hold her. If she is held, she would be entitled to another hearing within 100 days.

During her court appearance Tuesday, Tian wore a white jumpsuit and appeared disheveled with messy hair. She was calm throughout. Early on, while waiting her turn near the front of the courtroom, Tian appeared to be smiling.

A Mandarin interpreter was brought in to assist her during the proceedings.

According to court documents, Tian had a visa allowing her to be in the United States that expired on Saturday. She traveled on a Chinese passport.

Prosecutors argued she was a serious flight risk with no fixed address.

After her arrest, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement lodged an immigration detainer against Tian, meaning that ICE wants to be notified before local law enforcement releases her.

In other incidents, green paint was used recently to deface the Lincoln Memorial, a statue of Martin Luther in Thomas Circle and a statue in front of a Smithsonian building, the court documents said. Tian was not immediately tied to those events.

Her clothes were sent to a forensics team to determine whether the paint on them matches the paint at the other locations.

A fifth landmark in Washington — Luther Place Memorial Church — was also defaced. The court documents allege that a woman matching Tian’s description was seen at the church Sunday. White paint mixed with urine and feces was splattered on the church’s organ.

At the cathedral, in Washington’s northwest quadrant, paint was discovered on an organ console and casework inside the historic Bethlehem Chapel, in the building’s lower level.

A spokesman said the paint was wet when it was discovered. Paint was also found in the Children’s Chapel, in the cathedral’s nave.

The cathedral is a popular tourist destination.

Five miles south, on the National Mall, green paint was discovered on a statue outside the Smithsonian Institution Building, known widely as the Castle.

Linda St. Thomas, the Smithsonian’s chief spokeswoman, said the statue is of Joseph Henry, the first secretary of the federally administered group of museums.