Man Arrested for Defacing 150 Cemetery Headstones Said He Wanted To Ward Off Evil Spirits

Deepak Sandhar Singh, 26, of Hayward, was arrested Friday after admitting to the mass vandalism, police said.


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.

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Marga Lacabe July 17, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Yet another great use of police resources.
Mike July 17, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Were they just supposed to allow him to move through the cemetery defacing anything he pleased? The police should only use their resources in ways that you approve of? If that is what you believe apply for a city manager position someplace and you can then direct the police to operate in a way you deem fit.
Paul Vargas July 17, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Yes it is. Perhaps if he were defacing your cave you'd feel differently.
Angela Marrujo July 17, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Indeed it is - because the families of the dead paid for those stones, and they paid for them to mark the graves of their loved ones, not to be defaced with soybean oil. Doesn't seem like too complicated of an issue.
Thomas Clarke July 17, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Pouring Soybean oil on stone is no big deal. The truth is that Patch and the Police and their lap dogs would prefer to publish pictures of alienated, marginalized and off folks like the codgers hanging out at the marina john and this poor sod trying to keep the evil away. It is time to publish the names and print the pictures of the real crooks. Not likely to happen, but it is time.
Paul Vargas July 17, 2012 at 01:31 AM
This guy and the two perverts at the Marina are real criminals. You'd be the first to cry if someone defaced your sty.
Angela Marrujo July 17, 2012 at 01:32 AM
I'm sorry Thomas, forgive me if I'm mistaken, but were you or were you not the one who posted the following paragraph on the article about the men arrested in the bathroom at the Marina: "Tom, you were not wrong to publish their pictures. In fact I wish that newspapers and Patch would do things the way they did in the past. Publish the pictures and addresses of every adult who is arrested for a crime. This was done in the past and there really are no laws that prohibit that public information. Knowing the drunk or the druggie or wife whacker allows the community to do what it does best. Raise the quality of the residents." And by "their pictures", you were referring to the "alienated, marginalized and off folks" you just mentioned. So is this a change of heart we're seeing in you, or did you have a slight bout of amnesia and not remember what you recently wrote? Unless you're labeling yourself as a lapdog of the Police.
Lisa July 17, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Marga, you must not have a loved one buried over there. Thank the heavens it wasn't the headstone of my mother or grandparents! I feel awful for the families that this did happen to.
Lisa July 17, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Thomas, same for you? You must not have anyone buried over there? The death of a family member or friend is something very very emotional and personal. And it's a hard thing to have to pick out the casket, headstone, plan the service, etc. I feel bad for you that you find this thing "no big deal".
Tom Abate (Editor) July 17, 2012 at 03:08 AM
This is not a dangerous crime, but when I see a story with evil spirits, I have to bite. Sorry.
Marga Lacabe July 17, 2012 at 07:09 AM
Mike, democracy is really a foreign concept to you, eh? Just like for your dad. And Lisa, what bothers you, the fact that he put some veggie oil on the headstones, or the fact that he was trying to clean them up from being "evil"? What bothers me, once again, is that our society's response to the mentally ill is to arrest them and lock them up rather than help them. But hey, stones are more important than people, aren't they?
Marga Lacabe July 17, 2012 at 07:11 AM
I have to say that in this case the picture was pretty informative. I still don't think you should not be publishing the photos of people going through what looks to be a psychotic episode. I really, really fail to see how this benefits anyone.
Theresa Lupo July 17, 2012 at 09:34 PM
They paid $5000 to clean up soybean oil?Holy mazola i should be working at the grave yard!
cliff logan July 18, 2012 at 01:47 AM
@Marga How do we know he was mentally ill? Does not say anything like that in the article. He broke a law and vandalized property that was not his, my grandparents are buried there and if he poured oil over their plot I'd be madder than hell. Good job on the police for catching him, mabey he can have a sentence of cleaning up and restoring cemeteries. Nah I'd rather see him in jail so he can't harm another dead person.
Marga Lacabe July 18, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Cliff, it is a matter of opinion, of course, but in my experience people who believe metal plates attached to tombstones are "evil" and need to be anointed with oil to ward off evil spirits are in the midst of a psychotic episode. True, I'm not a psychiatrist, but I do have quite a bit of experience dealing with paranoid schizophrenics and I have read quite a bit about the subject. If nothing else, I'd think the situations of this arrest should suggest the man is in need of a psychiatric evaluation.
Joty September 24, 2012 at 04:26 AM
This man has passed away and the cause of death was suicide. Definitely couldn't have been mentally I'll or unstable right? The price of stones means more than the value of ones life, right? Ignorants.
Theresa Lupo September 24, 2012 at 04:53 AM
That is so sad.......i'm sorry to hear that & yes someone should have reached out to this young man......makes me want to cry.
Marga Lacabe September 24, 2012 at 05:01 AM
That is so horrible! We so need to do more for the mentally ill!


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