According to the Salt Lake Tribune’s Jay Drew, four University of Utah students were charged today with criminal mischief by the Provo City Attorney’s Office for their vandalism of the cougar statue on the grounds of LaVell Edwards Stadium.
The defendants, all between the ages of 18 and 20, were reportedly caught when they violated one of the first rules of avoiding the cops—never return to the scene of the crime. Witnesses to the spray painting of the defenseless cougar had identified the suspects’ vehicle as a Volkswagen Beetle (ironically, a blue one) to BYU Police, who were watching the area when the vandals returned to take selfies with their handiwork.
Officer Carlos Acosta pulled the vehicle over and noticed the odor of spray paint when he approached the driver’s side window. He asked the occupants of the car about the smell, and they showed him their white and red spray paint cans. Three of them had red paint residue on their hands, and were in possession of a block U stencil.
Criminal mischief is a class B misdemeanor in Utah, which means that the students are facing a fine and likely some kind of probation, but more likely than not they will not spend any time in jail. Even though only three of the defendants actually did the deed, the driver of the vehicle can still be charged as an accomplice. BYU also has the option to seek restitution from the defendants for the costs of cleaning the statue.
This was hardly the first act of Holy War-related vandalism, and it’s worth remembering that things could always be worse. Hopefully, the next victory for BYU over some Utes will be on the football field. Only then will justice be truly served.