Lincoln Memorial Cleaning Completed After Three Weeks

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A man works to clean the last remnants of green paint splattered on the Lincoln Memorial by a vandal.(credit: John Domen/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

A man works to clean the last remnants of green paint splattered on the Lincoln Memorial by a vandal.(credit: John Domen/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Removing green paint stains caused by an act of vandalism at the Lincoln Memorial nearly three weeks ago has proven difficult. On Friday, however, National Park Service crews were able to complete the cleaning process.

Workers used an alcohol-based solvent to remove the last “barely noticeable” traces of paint from the monument before 11 a.m.

“There were some stubborn areas, but our preservation crew is very skilled and know what needs to be done,” said Carol Johnson, NPS spokeswoman.

The scaffolding and plastic sheeting that had surrounded the statue of 16th president where cleaning crews have been working has been removed.

The statue was stained from the mid-chest area down to the floor with flecks of green and white paint early on July 26. Most of the paint was removed in an initial cleaning Friday after it was discovered.

With each cleaning process, the stains became fainter and fainter.

Green and white paint vandalism was also discovered at the Washington National Cathedral, on a statue outside the Smithsonian Institution headquarters and at a church and statue of Martin Luther in downtown Washington.

A woman was arrested and charged with defacing the cathedral. Authorities believe Jiamei Tian, 58, was responsible for all the incidents.

A judge ordered that Tian wear an ankle monitoring bracelet and barred her from leaving the halfway house or having visitors. Court documents have put the damage at $18,000, though an attorney for Tian disputed that number.

A detective testified that he was told that a footprint at the Lincoln Memorial matched the tread on the shoes Tian was wearing when she was arrested. Tian was holding a soda can with green paint inside when she was approached by a police officer at the cathedral.

Prosecutor Kevin Chambers argued Tian should remain in jail because there was no other way to guarantee she’d return to court. He said Tian, who has a Chinese passport and was traveling in Washington on an expired visa, has no ties to the community. And he said she was dishonest about where she lived when officers interviewed her.

Judge Frederick Sullivan, however, said holding someone in jail is “a very extreme remedy.” He said the courthouse frequently sees defendants accused of painting graffiti and that they are released.

“Everything has to be put in perspective,” he said.

Chambers, however, said that most defendants aren’t charged with defacing landmark buildings like the cathedral.

Tian has been told to return to D.C. Superior Court on Aug. 29 for a further hearing in the case. The crime she’s been charged with, destroying private property, carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.

Tian also faces potential removal by immigration authorities.

WNEW’s John Domen contributed to this report. Follow him on Twitter.

(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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