MANSFIELD, CT (The Hartford Courant) – A former UConn student who now works as a community organizer in the Mansfield and Willimantic area was arraigned this week on 103 counts of criminal mischief after confessing to writing political graffiti around the UConn campus over several months.
Eric Cruz-Lopez, 22, who lists addresses in Brideport and Storrs, admitted to UConn police that he painted slurs about President Donald Trump and the word “pest” in and around the Homer Babbidge Library and other buildings, according to the warrant for his arrest.
“I did the graffiti,” he wrote in his police statement. “I am open to entering into a conversation about restitution.” He said he was unwilling to limit his anti-Trump slurs to paper and said “pest” is his graffiti signature, according to the warrant.
UConn police began investigating after receiving several complaints about graffiti drawn with a paint marker and a spray can. The incidents occurred between December and March.
The university spent $4,255 to remove the graffiti and restore each site to its original state, UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said.
Cruz-Lopez was arrested on the charges May 7 and released without having to post bail.
UConn police were able to ID Cruz-Lopez through use of surveillance cameras and his UConn swipe card, according to the warrant. Police also installed extra cameras to help them find the vandal.
UConn police said they knew Cruz-Lopez because he helped organize protests against Trump and his policies in the past.
According to arrest paperwork, Cruz-Lopez is a community organizer for CT Students for a Dream, an organization that advocates on behalf of undocumented immigrants.
Cruz-Lopez could not be reached for comment Thursday. He has not yet entered a plea to the charges and is not represented by a lawyer. He is due back in Superior Court in Rockville on June 14.