Stone lion at MU target of vandalism

Published on columbiatribune.com Thursday, June 5, 2008
One of two 600-year-old stone lions given in 1931 to the School of Journalism was the target of a spray-painting vandal early today at the University of Missouri.

The two statues flank the Neff Hall archway near Ninth and Elm streets. A gift from the Chinese government to the journalism school as a symbol of international goodwill, the 5,000-pound statues formerly guarded a Confucian temple in Nanking.

At about 12:30 a.m., University Police Capt. Brian Weimer said, a campus security officer saw someone walk up to one of the statues, spray orange paint on it and discard the paint can. The vandal and another person then walked across Ninth Street and down an alley toward Tenth Street.

MU police arrested two 17-year-olds — Brant J. Robinson of 1506 Stone St. and Travis Gilliam of 4513 Orchard Lane — on suspicion of institutional vandalism. Each remained today in the Boone County Jail, with bond set at $4,500.

The two suspects also allegedly used black markers to vandalize a retaining wall near the alley, Weimer said.

Paint on the statue had been removed by mid-morning.

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