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Flowers ripped out at Phoenix memorial garden, vandal caught on camera

Posted at 10:53 PM, Mar 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-09 00:29:30-05

A place for Arizona veterans to find peace has been damaged and disrespected, and one Valley veteran did not take it lightly.

In the shadow of the U.S.S Arizona memorial at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, the flowers were ripped out of several flower boxes and trampled. 

Sean Eggerstedt, his brother, and a friend -- all military men -- were at the park to clean up trash they had noticed on a previous visit. 

"This place is very important to me," said Eggerstedt. "Yeah, I would say it's sacred."

But the clean-up mission turned troubling when the three men discovered the damage by the war memorial. 

"This really hurts us," said Eggerstedt. "It just brings us down like we're not welcomed here anymore."

The men reported their discovery and the Arizona Department of Administration told us that the Department of Public Safety troopers caught a suspect who has a mental illness. As of Monday night, DPS couldn't immediately confirm an arrest.

"I would rather see him get the help he needs than go to jail for this," Eggerstedt said of whoever is responsible for the damage. "Because this is somebody who needs help."

Eggerstedt said more than anything he wants the mess cleaned up and, as always, he's willing to help. 

"We did do the GoFundMe hoping maybe Home Depot or Lowe's, somebody reaches out and donates the flowers. I'll come plant them myself," said Eggerstedt with a laugh. 

The Department of Administration said that vandalism like this is not common. It also said the flowers can't be replanted and will have to be replaced.