LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Two teenagers have been charged with causing more than $10,000 worth of damage by spray-painting UCLA’s Bruin Bear mascot with USC colors ahead of the rivalry football game between the two schools last November.
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office Wednesday charged 19-year-old Louie Torres of Studio City and 18-year-old Willie Johnson of Van Nuys with one count each of felony vandalism.
The two were arrested Dec. 19. They face a maximum sentence of three years in jail if convicted, prosecutors said.
Both suspects have no ties to either university, police said. What motivated the vandalism is unclear.
In the week prior to the UCLA-USC game on Nov. 17, the Bruin Bear was placed in a chalkboard box for protection, as is common amid a long history of rivalry week shenanigans perpetrated by students at both schools.
At around 2 a.m. on Nov. 13, the suspects’ pried open the box and spray painted the bear with USC’s cardinal-and-gold colors, UCLA police said. They also wrote “SC” in red paint on the statue’s mantel, prosecutors added.
UCLA Police, who continue to investigate the case, did not disclose how they identified Torres and Johnson as the suspects.
They are scheduled to be arraigned at the Airport Courthouse Thursday.