Police arrest 4 teens in connection with campus vandalism

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Sophie Mattson/Staff

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UCPD officers detained one UC Berkeley student and three men not affiliated with the campus on suspicion of vandalizing Sather Gate and other campus locations early Wednesday morning.

Police suspect that the individuals vandalized Sather Gate, Haas Pavilion, the Recreational Sports Facility and Cesar Chavez Student Center with messages concerning the ASUC, communism and fraternities. Authorities estimate the damage to campus property will cost between $3,000 and $5,000.

UCPD received several calls early Wednesday morning about the vandalism and responded to the scene around 2:10 a.m. Officers apprehended 19-year-old UC Berkeley student Santosh Malarkannan and three men who do not attend UC Berkeley: Amado Becerra, 19, Arash Ehya, 19, and Andrew Feldman, 18, near Bancroft Way and Ellsworth Street, according to UCPD Lt. Eric Tejada. The four men were allegedly carrying red paint.

The words “KILL FRATS” and “Kill ASUC” were spray-painted onto the pillars of Sather Gate, and the message “KILL REGENT$,” along with a hammer and sickle sign, were graffitied onto Haas Pavilion. “FULL COMMUNISM” was spray-painted beneath a bridge over Strawberry Creek, and “Frats = Rape” was also spray-painted onto the side of Cesar Chavez Student Center.

Tejada said the incident is being investigated as a vandalism case and not as a criminal threat.

“I can’t believe something like this would happen here,” said UC Berkeley senior Robert Ixta, who saw the graffiti at Sather Gate. “It’s sad that someone would do this here.”

Christine Shaff, director of communications for the campus’s facilities services, said the damage should be cleaned up by Wednesday. She added that she hadn’t heard of such extensive vandalism on campus since Clark Kerr Campus was tagged with red paint several years ago.

The four individuals were taken into custody and transported to Santa Rita Jail. They were released after receiving citations, according to Tejada.

Contact Sophie Mattson at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @MattsonSophie.