Grabbing a face mask in the NFL usually results in a 15-yard penalty, but this punishment will likely be more harsh. On Wednesday, Santa Clara police announced that a man has been arrested and charged after allegedly taking the face mask off the Joe Montana statue outside Levi’s Stadium. The incident happened during the San Francisco 49ers‘ home game against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday.
The suspect, Jorge Alberto Lopez, was arrested at the scene and now faces felony vandalism charges, according to CBS San Francisco.
After the 49ers lost 27-24 in overtime, the 37-year-old allegedly vandalized the statue that commemorates “The Catch”– the touchdown pass from Montana to wide receiver Dwight Clark in the 1982 NFC Championship. The crime was allegedly caught on video.
According to police, a security guard at the stadium saw Lopez take the face mask off of the Montana statue. The arrest log states he was detained by security at the stadium until police arrived and arrested the suspect, according to CBS San Francisco.
The 49ers released the following statement:
“The Joe Montana statue that is part of the ‘The Catch’ art installation located inside the stadium’s Gate A plaza was vandalized following our recent Monday Night Football game. Security personnel apprehended the individual soon thereafter and the Santa Clara Police Department arrested the individual on felony vandalism charges. Crews have already begun repairs on the statue and expect work to be complete prior to Sunday’s home game. As this is an ongoing police matter, we will not have any additional comment.”
The statue was installed last year and is even to scale in regards to how far away away the players were during that iconic play.
Montana fans can breathe a sigh of relief, though, as the statue is already being fixed and the face mask will be back before the 49ers host the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.