A man arrested on suspicion of at the Chapel of the Chimes cemetery last week told police he committed the crime to ward off evil spirits.
Deepak Sandhar Singh, 26, of Hayward, was arrested Friday on suspicion of felony vandalism after he admitted to police officers that he defaced the headstones with soybean oil, according to Cmdr. Ben Horner of the Union City Police Department.
The mass vandalism at Chapel of the Chimes Memorial Park, located at 33992 Mission Blvd. on the Hayward-Union City border, was reported Wednesday and was initially believed to be done with motor oil. Groundskeepers saw Singh moving flowers between the headstones at the time that the crime occurred, police said.
According to Horner, Singh told police that he purchased a two-gallon jug of soybean oil and planned to use it to ward off evil spirits. Singh believed the metal plates attached to the headstones “were evil” and needed to be purified.
Singh also left behind small plastic figures and pieces of ribbons and string at some gravesites, Horner said.
Cemetery staff were still cleaning the headstones when the arrest was reported Friday. The cleaning costs were estimated to be more than $5,000, police said.