Mural vandal – a Highland Park resident – is apprehended by Highland Park police and charged

Chief Rick Abrams of the Highland Park Police Department announces that a man from Highland Park has been charged with the vandalizing of the mural located at 75 Raritan Ave.

Thomas Santo, 54, of Highland Park, New Jersey, was charged with NJSA 2C:16-1 Bias Intimidation, a 4th degree criminal charge, as well as NJSA 2C:17-3 Criminal Mischief for the actual physical defacement of the mural.

A preliminary investigation by Highland Park Police Detective Sgt. J. Culver and Det. Palumbo determined that Mr. Santo first vandalized the mural on the morning of 4/29/22 and then returned later in the day to vandalize the mural again.

The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Sergeant Jason Culver or Detective Gaetano Palumbo of the Highland Park Police Department at (732) 572-3800 or

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charge against Mr. Santo is merely accusations; he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

“Highland Park prides itself on its diversity and acceptance of all, and this act struck at the heart of what we stand for. The Highland Park Police Department is resolute in its condemnation of this vandalism and all acts of bias and hatred. We will continue to work with our community and borough partners to ensure the safety of all.

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