Two young men have been arrested in connection with last month’s vandalism of a UCLA statue in the week leading up to the university’s big game with crosstown rival USC.
Louie Torres, 19, and Willie Johnson, 18, were arrested Wednesday at their homes on suspicion of conspiracy and felony vandalism, UCLA police Lt. Kevin Kilgore said. The two were being held in lieu of $10,000 bail.
Neither man has any affiliations with USC or UCLA, Kilgore said.
Vandals pried open a wooden case that was protecting the Bruin Bear on the UCLA campus about 2 a.m. Nov. 13 and doused the well-known statue with red and yellow paint, resulting in $15,000 in damage. The destruction was discovered days later.
The Bruin Bear is covered with a wooden, chalkboard box each year during the university’s rivalry week, leading up to the annual football game against USC. The statue was first shielded in 2010, after similar vandalism left the bear covered in red and yellow oil-based paint. In that instance, the attack caused $20,000 worth of damage.
USC’s Tommy Trojan and Hecuba statues also are guarded and wrapped in duct tape the week before the game.