Two San Fernando Valley men pleaded not guilty Thursday to a felony vandalism charge for allegedly causing more than $10,000 in damage to UCLA’s Bruin Bear statue during “rivalry week,” a few days before the Bruins played USC.
Louie Raider Torres, 19, of Studio City, and Willie Saul Johnson, 18, of Van Nuys, allegedly painted the bear with red and yellow paint, including the letters “SC” on the statue’s mantel on Nov. 13, prosecutors said.
Neither of the two are listed as being affiliated with either USC or UCLA, according to UCLA officials.
The two were arrested Dec. 19 by UCLA police and released on bond the following day, jail records said.
The Bruin Bear had been secured in a wooden box for the UCLA-USC football game that weekend, but the box was pried open, according to UCLA Police Lt. Kevin Kilgore.
If convicted as charged, Torres and Johnson face up to three years in jail, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The case remains under investigation by the UCLA Police Department.
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