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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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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