St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch (left) held a press conference on April 25, following the arrest of a suspect in the Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery vandalism. PHOTO: ERIC BERGER
Despite more than a year passing since the vandalism at Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery, University City police had not conceded that the perpetrator or perpetrators would elude them, according to Captain Fredrick Lemons.
There was a reason for that optimism. Police had obtained DNA from a jacket left underneath one of the more than 150 headstones that were damaged or knocked over in February 2017.
Last week, law enforcement found an alleged match with Alzado Harris, a 34-year-old man who was required to provide a DNA sample in December when he entered prison for a different crime. On April 24, police arrived at Harris’ home in Florissant; he agreed to talk with them about the crime and later confessed.
At that point, police arrested Harris and charged him with institutional vandalism, a class D felony. If convicted, the crime carries a jail sentence of five to 15 years.
“It’s pretty common” for there to be such a delay, Lemons said. “People have to understand that it’s not like on TV; sometimes these things take time.”
Harris, who had a number of previous arrests, told police that he was