Joe Montana statue vandalized after 49ers game; suspect arrested

Grabbing the face mask of an NFL quarterback during a game can get a defensive player called for a 15-yard penalty.

Grabbing the face mask of a statue of an NFL quarterback outside a stadium can get a suspected vandal booked into the county jail.

The latter happened to Jorge Alberto Lopez, 37, of Santa Clara, Calif., following Monday night’s game between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, according to police.

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Jorge Alberto Lopez, 37, of Santa Clara, has been charged with felony vandalism, authorities say. (Santa Clara Police Department)

Jorge Alberto Lopez, 37, of Santa Clara, has been charged with felony vandalism, authorities say. (Santa Clara Police Department)

Lopez was booked into the Santa Clara County jail on charges of felony vandalism after allegedly pulling the face mask off a statue of 49ers great Joe Montana outside Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

“It was an intentional act on his part to grab the face mask and pull on it until it broke,” Santa Clara police Capt. Wahid Kazem said Wednesday, according to SFGate.com.

“It was an intentional act on his part to grab the face mask and pull on it until it broke.”

— Capt. Wahid Kazem, Santa Clara police

Stadium security personnel detained Lopez and held him until police arrived, according to the report.

The alleged crime happened as fans were leaving the stadium following the 49ers’ 27-24 loss to their NFC West division rival in the nationally televised game.

​​​​​​​Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana looks on from the sidelines during the NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., Dec. 20, 2015. (Getty Images) 

​​​​​​​Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana looks on from the sidelines during the NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., Dec. 20, 2015. (Getty Images) 

The Montana statue shows the quarterback lifting his arms in a touchdown celebration, 23 yards away from a statue of late 49ers wide receiver Dwight Clark, whose statue shows him leaping to catch Montana’s touchdown pass.

The two statues commemorate “The Catch,” a key moment in 49ers franchise history, when the team defeated the Dallas Cowboys in the 1981 NFC Championship Game and advanced to the Super Bowl for the first time. The statues were unveiled in October 2018, four years after the 49ers moved to Santa Clara from San Francisco.

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Montana, now 63, remains a 49ers icon after leading the team to four Super Bowl titles. Clark played on two of those championship teams, but died of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2018 at age 61.

It was unclear what penalty Lopez might face if convicted of the alleged crime. The statue was expected to be repaired in time for the 49ers' next game on Sunday, San Francisco's KRON-TV reported.