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Vandals strike 2 more Washington landmarks

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WASHINGTON » Three days after green paint was found splattered on the Lincoln Memorial, authorities investigated two similar incidents of vandalism — green paint splashed onto an organ inside the Washington National Cathedral and symbols painted in green on another statue on the National Mall.

Officials at the cathedral discovered the paint this afternoon. It was still wet, which led them to believe the vandalism had just occurred. Officials called police and closed the cathedral’s historic Bethlehem Chapel, where the organ is located, and authorities searched the grounds.

Also today, U.S. Park Police said green paint was found on the statue of Joseph Henry outside the headquarters of the Smithsonian Institution on the Mall. Henry was the Smithsonian’s first secretary.

Meanwhile, crews worked to remove the paint from the Lincoln Memorial, which was reopened to visitors on Friday, the same day the vandalism was discovered. The National Park Service said progressively stronger substances would be used until all the paint is gone, which could take several days. The memorial was scheduled to be power washed Tuesday.

Sgt. Paul Brooks, a U.S. Park Police spokesman, said it was too early to tell whether the same person was responsible for the vandalism. He noted that while the paint appeared to be splattered indiscriminately on the memorial, the statue appeared to have been deliberately painted.

The symbols on the statue were not immediately decipherable. That vandalism was reported to police on Friday, Brooks said.

D.C. police were investigating the vandalism at the cathedral and collaborating with park police. There are surveillance cameras in the chapel, but it wasn’t immediately clear whether the vandalism was captured on video, said Richard Weinberg, a cathedral spokesman for the cathedral.

D.C. police said paint from the cathedral would likely be sent to the FBI for testing.

Bethlehem Chapel was opened in 1912 and is the oldest section of the cathedral. It was the site of President Woodrow Wilson’s burial rites, and his remains were entombed there for more than three decades. Wilson’s remains were later interred in a memorial bay on the cathedral’s main level.

Washington National Cathedral is an Episcopal cathedral that serves as the nation’s spiritual home. It has hosted inaugural prayer services and the state funerals for presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford.

Associated Press writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report.

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