Big Blue Bear vandalism: Charges rejected for man busted in green-paint splashing

Update: Yesterday, Denver police announced, with a good deal of hoopla, that an arrest had been made in the March 31 vandalism of the Big Blue Bear at the Colorado Convention Center, during which the tourism symbol was splashed with green paint.

Mere hours later, however, the Denver District Attorney's Office decided not to press charges against 21-year-old Joseph Rivas, with officials determining that there wasn't enough evidence against him to guarantee a conviction.

According to 9News, the DPD determined that vandals got onto the convention center's roof using a rope -- very ambitious.

The person or persons responsible then poured the paint on the bear and split without either the one-gallon paint can or the lid, both of which were left on the roof.

Cops were able to trace the paint to a Home Depot on Santa Fe, then to an art studio a mile or so away that just happened to have door painted the same shade of green as the stuff that splattered the ursine statue.

These clues led them to Rivas, who's accused in the police affidavit of changing his story and then hanging up after being asked if he did the dastardly deed. But DA's office spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough says this circumstantial evidence wasn't enough to convince prosecutors to move forward.

Hence, the matter's been dropped for now, but the investigation continues.

Here's the 9News update on the development, followed by our previous coverage.

Continue for our previous coverage. Original post, 11:48 a.m. May 1: "If it was intended as an early April Fools' Day joke, it wasn't a very funny one." That's how we started out our April 1 post about the person who splashed green paint on the Big Blue Bear, the symbolic mascot of the Colorado Convention Center, and of Denver tourism in general -- if you don't count DIA's demon Mustang, that is. But now, the folks at the Denver Police Department think they've caught the man responsible -- Joseph Rivas. See photos of him and the unbearable crime scene below.

If you have any doubts about how big a part the Blue Bear plays in marketing the Convention Center, they'll be dispelled by one look at its Facebook page, which uses these images as profile pics:

The same is true for Visit Denver. Just a week or so before the greening of Big Blue, the tourism organization shared the following photo on its Facebook page: The crime went unsolved for a month, and fixing the damage wasn't cheap. The repair job is estimated to have cost $11,000.

Yesterday, however, Rivas, 21, was arrested for investigation of criminal mischief in relation to the crime. Detectives are said to have "followed the evidence" that led them to Rivas. No word as to whether said evidence consisted of green footprints.

Look below to see Rivas's mug shot, followed by photos and aFox31 video of the unwanted color change.

Continue for photos and a video of the Big Blue Bear vandalism. Continue for more photos, plus a video.

The Fox31 report:

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "'Mustang,' aka Blucifer: No one's asking for it to be removed despite DIA conspiracy theory."

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