Man arrested in Cathedral of Learning vandalism

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A man accused of spray-painting graffiti inside the Cathedral of Learning in Oakland, causing up to $100,000 in damage, was arrested Saturday within hours of the vandalism.

Danial Mohammad Khan-Yousufzai, 21, vandalized the Cathedral commons area floor Saturday morning then walked outside and sat on a bench where police found him, Pitt police Officer Scott Kercher wrote in a criminal complaint.

Mr. Khan-Yousufzai, who told police he was a Pitt student, has been charged with criminal mischief -- a felony in this case because the damage exceeds $5,000 -- one felony and one misdemeanor count of institutional vandalism and a misdemeanor count of possessing instruments of crime.

He has been released from the Allegheny County Jail having posted a $10,000 bond, according to court records.

In black and blue spray paint, the graffiti read "WRC" and measured 12 feet by 4 1/2-feet, police said. There was also paint on the bottom of a bench.

KDKA-TV reported it has since been removed, but a university spokesman did not immediately return a message to confirm.

Pitt facilities management employees told police repairs could cost between $65,000 and $100,000.

"WRC" is an acronym for Workers Right Consortium, an independent monitoring organization that works with universities nationwide to investigate factories where university-licensed apparel is manufactured.

Students have advocated for the university to affiliate with the group to ensure fair labor practices where their logo goods are made, but Pitt officials have said they're satisfied with the university's existing relationship with a similar organization.

Mr. Khan-Yousufzai's hands, shoes and pants were covered in blue and black spray paint, according to the complaint, and his footprints from the scene led to the bench where he was caught.

When police asked for his identification, he told them he had a student ID, passport and an identification card but was not carrying them.

Inside his backpack, police found two empty cans of spray paint, a king-size black Sharpie marker and a partially used 450-milliliter bottle of perchloric acid, a strong, highly corrosive mineral acid, wrapped in several towels.

When asked what was in the bottle, Mr. Khan-Yousufzai said "it was a very strong one," Officer Kercher wrote in the complaint.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

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Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1944 and on Twitter: @borntolede.


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