Authorities on Wednesday arrested two men accused of vandalizing a popular statue at UCLA ahead of the annual football match between the university and USC in November.
The suspects, 19-year-old Louie Torres and 18-year-old Willie Johnson, did not have any apparent connection with either school, according to UCLA police.
The teenagers allegedly forced open the wooden case that contained the Bruin Bear and spray-painted it in USC colors, red and yellow, around 2 a.m. on Nov. 13, four days before the schools’ rivalry game.
One of the chalkboard walls that surrounded the mascot at Bruin Plaza had been removed, the Daily Bruin reported.
The paper said UCLA in 2010 began placing barriers around the statue on the Westwood campus during rivalry week after it was similarly defaced the previous year. That cost the school more than $20,000, the Daily Bruin said.
Damages in the November incident were estimated at more than $15,000, according to UCLA police.
Officers arrested Torres and Johnson at their homes on Wednesday and booked them on suspicion of conspiracy and felony vandalism. Bail was set at $10,000.
The case remained under investigation. Anyone with information can contact the UCLA Police Department at 310-825-1491.