A student from the Kyrgyz Republic was arrested Monday for allegedly using a penny to engrave the letters “HYPT MAEK” into the fifth pillar on the north side of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Fox 5 DC reported.
Nurtilek Bakirov, 21, was arrested and charged with malicious destruction of property, the report said. If convicted, the maximum penalty he faces is 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
The report — citing U.S. Park Police — said an officer caught Bakirov the act.
Last month, the Lincoln Memorial was tagged with red spray paint with an anti-law message.
A photo released by the National Park Service shows an expletive followed by the word "law" scrawled on the inside of one of the memorial's columns.
Workers are removing the graffiti using a "gel-type architectural pain stripper safe for use on historic stone." They say treatments will be applied until all evidence of the paint is gone.
The park service told Fox 5 DC that it is determining how to fix the structure.
"We'll have some different options over the next days and weeks to see what if any course of action there is to take, but until we know what that course of action is we can't really comment on the level of effort or amount of money that would be involved to do so," a conservator told the TV station's website.
The Kyrgyz Republic, also known as Kyrgyzstan, is a former Soviet Republic in Central Asia that borders western China.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.