Investigators are trying to identify two skateboarders who were captured on security camera defacing the Grand Rapids, Mich. gravesites of former President Gerald Ford and former first lady Betty Ford in an act police called “extreme vandalism.”
A young man and a woman with long, dark hair, both of whom appear to be teenager,s are seen in the video walking toward the gravesites at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum on March 27 at 4 p.m., one hour before the site closes. The woman kicks her skateboard into the Fords’ memorial before the two hoist themselves on top of the wall, according to NBC News.
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The man is then seen trying to pry and dig at the metal letters that make up the inscription “Lives Committed to God, Country and Love,” successfully removing an “e.” The museum paid $400 to replace the missing letter.
Presidential Museum deputy director Joel Westphal told reporters that officials are “not happy” and are taking the crime very seriously.
“The president and first lady are interred here; this is a presidential grave site,” Westphal said. “There are not many presidential grave sites. We are one of only 14 presidential museums around the country.”
The 38th U.S. president passed away on Dec. 26, 2006 and was interred the following Jan. 3 after a 60,000-person memorial. The first lady died on July 8, 2011 and was given a public viewing from July 13 to 14, after which she was buried right next to her husband.
Museum officials said they’re not sure whether the Ford family has learned of the vandalism, but they plan to notify them soon. They are also planning on pressing charges against the couple if they are arrested.
“We would like to see some justice prevail here,” said Westphal.
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