Wednesday, May 24

Bruin Bear vandalized, splashed with red and yellow paint


Red and yellow oil-based paint was found splashed onto the UCLA Bruin Bear today, an act of vandalism committed either late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. Crews have been working since about 9 a.m. to remove the paint from the statue using an acetone solvent.

Red and yellow oil-based paint was found splashed onto the UCLA Bruin Bear today, an act of vandalism committed either late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. Crews have been working since about 9 a.m. to remove the paint from the statue using an acetone solvent. Alene Tchekmedyian


Red and yellow oil-based paint was found splashed onto the UCLA Bruin Bear today, an act of vandalism committed either late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

Police have taken a felony vandalism report, which assess the damages to the statue alone at an estimated $400. The tarp that previously covered the bear ““ which costs $1,500 ““ was sliced and is an additional cost, according to Leroy Sisneros, director of maintenance and alterations for UCLA Facilities Management.

Crews have been working since about 9 a.m. to remove the paint from the statue using an acetone solvent. UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton said oil-based paint is much harder to remove than water-based paint, which has been used by vandals in the past.

The main concern is to keep the paint runoff from getting into storm drains, Sisneros said. Sand barriers have been constructed to keep the drains clean. He said fines could be assessed if the issue is not taken care of quickly.

“Typically in the past when this has been done they used a water based paint ““ now it’s oil,” Sisneros said. “So not only is the oil a hazardous waste, but also the acetone they are using is a hazardous waste.”

Sisneros also said that the acetone used to clean the paint off of the bear may remove some of the patina, a brown coating covering the bronze statue. Crews will have to go back after the cleaning, he said.

The blue tarpaulin that previously covered the Bruin, which read, “The Bruin Bear is hibernating”, was cut open sometime between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to Hampton.

There are no witnesses and no one has been taken into custody, according to police.

The statue was given to the university as a gift from the UCLA Alumni Association in 1984.

With reports from Alene Tchekmedyian, Bruin senior staff.

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