- By Roberto Villalpando American-Statesman Staff
Austin police on Friday said they tracked down and charged a man they said vandalized Austin’s iconic statue of blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Witnesses on Monday – the day after the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl – saw a man spray-painting the base of the statue and place an Eagles jersey over the monument on the south shore of Lady Bird Lake, police said.
Passers-by also got the license plate number from the man’s vehicle and called 911.
Park officers investigated the scene and tracked the man to his house, based on the information provided by witnesses, police said.
Police have charged 39-year-old Matthew Rutledge with graffiti, a class B misdemeanor. Rutledge was booked Friday into the Travis County Jail, where he remains in custody with bail set at $2,000.
The graffiti appeared to read: “Philly (loves) St. Nick,” a likely reference to Nick Foles, the Austin-raised Super Bowl MVP and former Westlake High School quarterback.
The announcement of the graffiti arrest comes on the same day that Austin Mayor Steve Adler officially proclaimed Friday to be Nick Foles Day.
A tagger had defaced the statue earlier this year when passers-by discovered graffiti on the back of Vaughan’s poncho on Jan. 30.
Police have not announced any arrests in that incident.
Legendary blues performer Stevie Ray Vaughan, who was only 35 when he was killed in a helicopter crash on Aug. 27, 1990, was born and raised in Dallas but the guitar virtuoso firmly established his blues bona fides playing clubs like Antone’s in Austin.
The city of Austin unveiled the bronze sculpture as a memorial to Vaughan on Nov. 21, 1993, on Auditorium Shores, now named Vic Mathias Shores. It was the Live Music Capital of the World’s first monument to a musician.