NATCHEZ, Miss. (WLBT) - A 20-year-old has been arrested for malicious mischief after causing more than $40,000 worth of damage to an historic Natchez monument.
“The Turning Angel” is over 100 years old and was commissioned by a man to stand over the graves of five women who died in an explosion. According to folklore, the statue is known to ‘turn’ and look at cars as they drive by.
The director of the cemetery where the “The Turning Angel” is located said that around 12:30 Tuesday afternoon, he saw the statue on the ground.
Investigators then got a tip that the suspect responsible for the damage to the statue was a man named Austin Petty.
According to a press release from Natchez police, a camera captured a white SUV pulling up to the cemetery around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning. Petty is seen jumping out of the vehicle and walking over to the monument.
A person inside the vehicle gets out and tells Austin not to do anything stupid. That’s when Petty begins rocking the statue, causing it to tip over.
Petty then gets back in the vehicle and it drives off. Others inside the vehicle say they tried to convince Petty to talk to the police.
To dispel any rumors, police say this has nothing to do with national protests and is not racially motivated.
“This is an isolated incident of a young man exhibiting poor judgement that will cost him for years to come,” police say.