PROVO — It was a case of getting caught red-handed.
Four suspects were arrested and cited for criminal mischief for vandalizing the cougar statue outside of LaVell Edwards Stadium the night before the BYU-Utah football game, the first game in Provo between the two schools since 2013.
Lt. Steven Messick of the Brigham Young University police department told the Deseret News that around 4:50 a.m., a student called police and reported seeing people painting the cougar statue, which sits on the southwest corner outside of the stadium.
Messick said officers responded and located the suspects in a vehicle with red paint on their hands. The suspects admitted to vandalizing the statue, were cited for criminal mischief and released.
By 11:30 a.m., BYU grounds crew personnel were finishing cleaning the statue of the vandalism.
That was the only statue on BYU’s campus that was vandalized. Pictures of the vandalized statue began to circulate in the early morning hours on Saturday.
BYU students began lining up around the stadium around 9 a.m. to fill the “Roar of the Cougars” section.
University and athletics department officials did not immediately return a request for comment. BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe reacted on Twitter.