Police arrested a woman suspected of vandalizing the National Cathedral here, after splotches of green paint were found on the church organ, the third incident of this kind at one of the capital's emblematic sites.
Washington's assistant police chief, Peter Newsham, told reporters that the woman was arrested near the cathedral and that she is facing charges of destruction of property.
Last Friday, authorities found green paint splattered on the base of the seated statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial and on Monday morning, green paint was also found on another statue outside the Smithsonian Institution.
However, police said it was too early to tell if the woman they have in custody was responsible for all three incidents.
Authorities said that employees at the cathedral - the sixth largest in the world - found still-fresh paint splattered on the organ in the Bethlehem Chapel, which dates from 1912 and is located in the church's oldest section. Paint was also found splattered in the Children's Chapel in the nave.
A few hours earlier, authorities had found green paint on the statue of Joseph Henry, the first secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, outside the Smithsonian's main building on the National Mall.
The paint on Henry's statue, in contrast to that found inside the Cathedral and on the Lincoln statue, does not seem to be randomly splattered but rather deliberately painted symbols, although authorities said they have not been able to decipher them.
The Lincoln Memorial, one of the city's main tourist attractions and a site laden with national symbolism, was reopened shortly after the green paint was found there.
The National Parks Service, which has jurisdiction over federal monuments and lands, said that cleaning crews are continuing to wash and otherwise chemically treat the areas damaged by paint to remove the stains, a process that could take several days.
The National Cathedral is an Episcopal cathedral that serves a key spiritual role in U.S. society. The state funerals for several modern presidents - Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford - were held there and President Woodrow Wilson is buried in a memorial bay on the main level. EFE