A senior at with no prior criminal history has been charged with defacing the front of the Masonic Lodge with Nazi and ‘New World Order’-themed graffiti, breaking into the Church Street building, and stealing ‘hundred-year-old’ documents from a glass case therein over Memorial Day Weekend, according to Phoenixville Police.
Scott Damon O'Connell, 18, of the 300 block of Pothouse Road, was found sleeping in a van on Cherry Street by the van’s owner at 8:30 a.m. on May 26. Phoenixville Police Sergeant Tom Goggin told Patch that when O'Connell was discovered, he was wearing a Masonic Lodge jacket, carrying a Masonic Lodge plaque along with some unusual documents, and smelled strongly of alcohol.
Police also found a can of spray-paint by the van.
Police went to the lodge to investigate and found a profane screed referencing Nazis and the ‘New World Order’ spray-painted across the front door of the building, and three wire-reinforced windows on the bottom of the door kicked in.
At this point, the officers, escorted by lodge master Anthony DiGirolomo, entered the building and discovered that O'Connell had apparently opened the front door through one of the shattered windows and made it to the building’s third floor, where he ransacked a display case that held, among other things, hundred-year-old documents belonging to the organization.
Goggin said he was charged, in part, based on fingerprints taken from the door.
Goggin said that O'Connell–who has some superficial cuts that resulted, they believe, from his wedging his arm through the glass door–hasn’t said much to officers since his arrest, save for some statements that betray what Goggin described as “anti-government leanings.”
The sergeant emphasized that the teen has no history of criminal behavior–”I’d never heard of him before now,” he said–but didn’t rule out mental illness as a motivator.
“At some point he’s going to have an assessment done,” said Goggin.