Boston man charged in vandalism of Holocaust Memorial and other historical sites

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

By Peyton Benbow

Lawrence Hawkins, 46, is accused of damaging twenty tombstones Saturday night, including Paul Revere’s, as well as vandalizing federal buildings, two steakhouses, and the New England Holocaust Memorial. Hawkins allegedly threw bricks and rocks into the windows of eight sites along the Freedom Trail. He was arrested at the Southampton Street Shelter after police reviewed surveillance footage that traced his alleged vandalism spree. 

From 11:31 p.m. to just after 3 a.m. late Saturday night, Boston police received reports of a string of vandalism along the Freedom Trail. 

Fourteen gravestones were smashed or pulled from the ground at Granary Burying Ground, including Paul Revere’s. Six gravestones were vandalized at King’s Chapel Burying Ground, with one being completely removed from the ground. Police found a brick on the ground and damage to the New England Holocaust Memorial. 

On Monday morning, a Boston Municipal Court judge held Hawkins on $22,500 bail for three charges of vandalism, malicious destruction of property, and injuring a religious building. The judge noted that Hawkins has three decades of criminal history in Massachusetts. When the judge called for a mental health evaluation, Hawkins clapped. This was his third outburst in Court, after cursing at the prosecution.

“My goal is to make sure that he gets the help and service that he needs to be stabilized to see if he understands the nature of the charges against him, which he does not seem to at this time,” Hawkins’ defense attorney, Robert Glotzer, said in a statement. The defense noted Hawkins struggles with mental illness and addiction issues. 

Boston police caught Hawkins when he scaled a fence and entered the Massachusetts State House grounds, where he was taken to a shelter for the unhoused and arrested. Assistant Suffolk County District Attorney Samuel Jones described it as “his own one-man crime spree in downtown Boston.” He will appear in Court again for federal charges of vandalism.