A 22-year-old man allegedly used his car keys to carve his name into the limestone walls of the Monks’ Burial Room at the Alamo on Thursday.
Julio Perez was caught at the 18th-century UNESCO World Heritage site by a tour guide, according to USA Today. Alamo Rangers held Perez until the San Antonio police arrested him and charged with criminal mischief. Authorities accuse him of causing about $250,000 worth of damage with the 3-inch by 1-inch carving.
The San Antonio mission was the site of an 1836 battle during the Texas Revolution in which roughly 200 Texas settlers held off Mexican forces for 13 days before being overrun and slaughtered. It remains a symbol of courage in the face of insurmountable odds.
“Many Texans died here fighting for the independence of Texas. We don’t take it lightly when someone comes and desecrates this area,” Chief Mark Adkins of the Alamo Rangers told USA Today.
The Monks’ Room was open when the vandalism occurred, but it has since closed to the public so restoration experts can assess the damage.