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Home / Rome

OC man’s video of Roman Colosseum vandalism sparks outrage

Cell phone video shot by an Orange County resident that shows a tourist carving names into a brick of the ancient Colosseum in Rome was generating outrage around the world Tuesday, and sparking calls for the culprit to be tracked down.

The video was shot Friday by Orange resident Ryan Lutz, who posted the clip online. It shows a man carving what appeared to be names into one of the roughly 2,000-year-old bricks.

When the video began making the rounds on social media, it garnered worldwide attention, and even drew a Twitter response from Italy’s Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano.

“I consider it very serious, unworthy and a sign of great incivility that a tourist defaces one of the most famous places in the world, the Colosseum, to engrave the name of his fiancée,” Sangiuliano wrote on his Twitter page. “I hope that whoever did this will be identified and sanctioned according to our laws.”

According to CNN, the Italian news agency ANSA reported that the carving in the wall read “Ivan+Haley 23.”

Lutz, reached by phone in Athens on Monday, told the Southern California News Group he was shocked to see someone defacing the iconic ancient structure, so he began filming with his cell phone. The video shows Lutz approaching the unidentified man from behind as he carves into the brick. The man briefly turns toward Lutz, who says, “Are you serious, man?”

The culprit, however, merely smiles and goes back to his carving.

“No shame, whatsoever,” Lutz told SCNG about the man. “After that I think, ‘OK, I have to notify someone.'”

Lutz told the paper he reported the vandalism to a guard, then to a supervisor, and he was ultimately assured that appropriate authorities would be contacted.

“It was kind of a bummer end for my trip to the Colosseum,” Lutz told SCNG.

ANSA reported that the man could face a fine of $16,360 or up to five years in prison, according to CNN.

Lutz told SCNG he recently graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a geography degree and is on a two-month tour of Europe.

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