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2 Arrested for Defacing Santa Cruz 'Black Lives Matter' Street Mural With Skid Marks

SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF/BCN) -- Santa Cruz police investigators have arrested two men in connection with the Friday-night vandalism of a "Black Lives Matter" mural in downtown Santa Cruz.

Brandon Bochat, 20, of Santa Cruz, and Hagan Warner, 19, of Boulder Creek, were arrested Saturday, each being charged with one count of felony vandalism and one count of conspiracy to commit a felony. Investigators determined that Bochat and Warner took turns driving their vehicle during the commission of the vandalism.

Santa Cruz police officers received a report of vandalism to the mural Saturday morning. When they investigated, they discovered several skid marks defacing the mural located in the 800 block of Center Street.

Officers investigated the incident throughout Saturday and with assistance from community members were able to obtain video of the crime.

A vehicle is seen intentionally "burning out" and applying tire tread marks across the length of the mural. With the video evidence, investigators have identified a possible vehicle and persons of interest.

A police spokesperson said investigators were continuing to check on additional leads to identify and locate those responsible.

Authorities said that if the elements of a hate crime are met, the police department will seek appropriate criminal charges.

Santa Cruz Mayor Donna Meyers and Police Chief Andy Mills viewed the damage early Saturday morning.

"Vandalism of our Black Lives Matter mural is unacceptable and must be dealt with immediately. The Santa Cruz Police are actively investigating this crime and keeping me up to date. We will work to repair the mural and stand in solidarity with our community to oppose hate," Meyers said.

"This type of behavior is unacceptable in our community, and we will pour all of the resources necessary to ensure we identify and prosecute those responsible," Mills said. "Justice must be served as this crime affects (and) deteriorates the civility of our community, and creates a higher level of anxiety for many citizens, including our black community."

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Santa Cruz Police Department's investigations unit at (831) 420-5820.

© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report

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