A random dude did about $15,000 worth of damage to the famous bronze "Charging Bull" sculpture, by attacking it with a banjo. He managed to cut a deep gash in the thick bronze.
Onlookers watched with cell phones aloft as the man repeatedly bashed the sculpture. They were unsure whether the act was a work of performance art or simply violent vandalism. In the end, the bull was left with a six-inch gash and several scratches, according to reports.
Shortly after the incident, authorities arrested Tevon Varlack, a 42-year-old truck driver from Dallas, charging him with criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, and criminal possession of a weapon (which, it seems, is the banjo, which was metal and had sharp edges). After spending the night in jail, Varlack appeared for arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court on Sunday.
Varlack, wearing a white t-shirt with the words "Let Us Not Forget The Ten Commandments," gave no motive for his actions. (The shirt may be a reference to Moses's anger at the Israelites for worshipping a golden calf.) Varlack was released without bail and is due back in court on October 16. Judge Althea Drysdale ordered him to stay away from city landmarks in the meantime and warned him, "Do not go back and visit the bull."
Wait a minute, you might ask: One can actually cut into thick bronze by hitting it with a banjo?
By all means. I've got a Goodtime banjo with a resonator back, and man those things are a) heavy as an anvil and b) possessed of a thick metal rim. Swung Pete-Townsend-style, it'd pack one heck of a punch.
(CC-2.0-licensed photo of the bull courtesy Ernie McClelland's Flickr stream)