ANDERSON, S.C. (WSPA) – Deputies have arrested a man who they said vandalized the front doors of the Anderson County Courthouse with red spray paint early Thursday morning.
According to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, the vandalism happened between 3:30 a.m. and 3:40 a.m. at the courthouse on South Main Street in downtown Anderson.
“We have the suspect on surveillance basically defacing the front doors,” said Shale Remien, public information officer for the sheriff’s office. “It took less than 10 minutes to do it. Then, he took off down Whitner Street and from there it just became a question of who this person is and why would they do something like this.”
The surveillance picture released by the sheriff’s office showed a person wearing a letterman jacket and a green mask.
24-year-old Blaise Owens was arrested at his home and charged with malicious and willful injury to the courthouse.
“We got a tip,” Remien said. “An anonymous tip actually pointing to the suspect’s house. Then when we had enough evidence to believe it actually was this person we went in and spoke to him and his family. Our detectives even found the letterman jacket that he was wearing. We actually found that burned outside of his house.”
The sheriff’s office said Owens spray painted three lines of words across the doors.
“The first line says coupe de grace which actually means to mercifully kill or severely wound an animal or person.” Remien said.
They said they are still working to determine the meaning of the bottom two lines.
“It obviously wasn’t a very private crime,” Remien said. “It was vandalism for everyone to see. There are many people who come downtown to shop or dine and then people who work there day in and day out.”
In a statement, an Anderson County spokesperson said, “I am thankful to Sheriff McBride and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office for their swift investigation and arrest of the suspect accused in the incident at the courthouse. With their help, the vandalism was removed quickly so that the Anderson County Courthouse can remain business as usual each day.”
The sheriff’s office said Owens has not been a violent offender in the past and detectives are working to determine his motive.