In Austin, you don’t mess with Willie Nelson or Stevie Ray Vaughan and if you do you’re going to get caught.
According to police a 39-year-old Philadelphia Eagles fan learned that lesson the hard way after police said he tagged the popular statue located along Auditorium Shores.
Music icon Stevie Ray Vaughan stands tall with a guitar in hand on the south shore of Lady Bird Lake at Auditorium Shores.
The legend’s statue attracts the eye of hundreds of joggers, tourist and local Austinites on a daily basis.
“He’s an idol of mine Stevie Ray Vaughan. He’s an excellent man and excellent guitarist,” said Joe Oney a local musician.
A couple visiting from Minneapolis stopped to get a quick snap in with the statue Friday.
“Life by the drop is my favorite song by him,” said Shawn Santra.
But just days before, good ol’ Stevie was sporting a little more than just a guitar and hat.
On Friday Austin Police said they tracked down and charged 39-year old Matthew Rutledge who police said confessed to vandalizing Austin’s iconic statue of blues legend.
Witnesses in the area told police they saw Rutledge spray paint the statue as well as place a Philadelphia Eagles jersey over it.
The words spray painted on the statue’s base “Philly loves” “St. Nick”.
“I think he would be pretty bummed I don’t think he’s an Eagles fan,” said Santra.
This just a day after the Eagles won the Super Bowl.
“Witnesses that were able to observe the suspect marking up the statue and were able to write down his license plate and give it to the first responding officers,” said Austin Police officer Jefhrey Javier.
Fans and park goers said they were relieved to hear that the Eagles fan had been caught.
“I think it’s disrespectful to his art,” said Oney.
“What do you accomplish by doing something like that except vandalizing something that’s there for public enjoyment it’s really stupid,” said Joseph Lai.
Oney said there’s a difference between street art and vandalism and said it’s sad to hear he’s been tagged again.
“They need to be protected and kept clean. There should be strict penalties for things like graffiti. If people want to do graffiti there’s places that allow people to express their art,” said Oney.
Back in January police said taggers wrote in white paint all over the back of the statue.
Local Austinites said they hope this will be the last time Stevie is tagged.
“It takes a lot of hard work to maintain this trail and the enjoyment for all who come through here. It’s for the common good there’s no reason to trash it or graffiti it,” said Lai.
Rutledge is facing a misdemeanor for criminal mischief graffiti.