Don’t mess with UCLA’s Bruin Bear.
Two men were charged Wednesday with vandalism after prosecutors said they tagged a statue of the UCLA mascot with red and yellow paint and wrote “SC” on its base in November in the week leading up to the school’s football game with rival USC.
Louie Raider Torres, 19, of Studio City and Willie Saul Johnson, 18, of Van Nuys caused more than $10,000 in damage to the statue on Nov. 13, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. The two are set to be arraigned Thursday.
If convicted as charged, both defendants face a possible maximum sentence of three years in jail, the district attorney’s office announced.
Neither man has any affiliations with USC or UCLA, UCLA police Lt. Kevin Kilgore said when the pair were arrested last month.
The wooden case that was protecting the Bruin Bear on the UCLA campus was pried open around 2 a.m. Nov. 13, and the statue was doused with red and yellow paint. The destruction was discovered days later, Kilgore said.
UCLA beat USC in a football game the following Saturday 34-27.
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.
Times staff writer Alejandra Reyes-Velarde contributed to this report.