West Windsor 9/11 Memorial vandalism probe continues

By Jennifer Kohlhepp Princeton Packet

September 11th Memorial at West Windsor photo Princeton Packet

September 11th Memorial at West Windsor photo Princeton Packet

West Windsor, NJ — The township has cleaned up most of the vandalism at the 9/11 Memorial but the incident continues to disappoint and frustrate the mayor.

Sometime between Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 portions of the township’s 9/11 Memorial, including a metal beam from the World Trade Center, were spray-painted with red Russian words. The vandal(s) also spray-painted the slate tile flooring inside of the gazebo, the wooden bench frame inside of the gazebo, the paver walkway near the reflecting pools, and five large stones in the area of the reflecting pools, according to the West Windsor Township police Sgt. Mark Lee.

“I was very, very angry when I heard about that,” Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh said. “It’s not the first time we’ve had to deal with this but this is the worst we ever had.”

The mayor said previous vandalism at the memorial located in Ronald Rogers Arboretum at the intersection of Clarksville Road and Princeton-Hightstown Road included people allowing their dogs to “go” in the memorial area and animals running around and destroying plants.

“This time it’s unbelievable — to deface almost everything on the people’s property,” the mayor said. “That’s why I’m personally very, very angry.”

The township asked a high school student to interpret the words, which translated into the name “Bozhena” as well as “I love you” and “Forgive me.”

The township’s Department of Public Works wiped away the graffiti from most surfaces by Wednesday.

“Some of the damages still need to be fixed,” Mayor Hsueh said. “The gazebo inside and some stones, we have to replace them. I hope that nothing is irreplaceable.”

The mayor said the cost of the damage remains unknown at this time. He said the township’s insurance company will come up with an estimate.

The West Windsor Township police are actively pursuing leads to find the vandal(s). The West Windsor Professional Firefighters Association is offering a $500 reward for information that leads to an arrest.

The mayor said the township is looking into reinforcing patrols in the area of the memorial and the possibility of placing security cameras at that location.

Anyone with information about this incident should contact the West Windsor Township Police Department at 609-799-1222.

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