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Law enforcement officials in Italy have discovered the identity of a tourist who was captured on a viral video vandalizing the walls of the Colosseum in Rome, Italian Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano announced on Thursday.

“Grateful to the Arma Dei Carabinieri for promptly identifying the alleged perpetrator of the uncivilized and absurd act committed at the Colosseum,” the minister wrote, adding that the incident had “offended all those throughout the world who appreciate the value of archaeology, monuments, and history.”

According to the Daily Mail, the tourist who used a key to carve the words “Ivan + Haley 23” onto the walls of the 2,000-year-old arena has been identified as a Bulgarian-born fitness instructor named Ivan Dmitrov.

The outlet claims to have found the 27-year-old’s social media profiles and discovered that he currently lives in Britain with his long-term girlfriend Hayley Bracey, 33.

Italian police identify Colosseum vandalizer

Sangiuliano also stated his hope that “justice will take its course” with the rigorous application of the law, confirming that “if it comes to a trial, the Ministry of Culture will appear as a civil party.”

The Arma Dei Carabinieri law enforcement agency confirmed that the perpetrator resides in the UK, noting that the investigation is still in its preliminary phase and that the suspect “must consider himself innocent until a final sentence is issued.”

If Dmitrov’s guilt is confirmed, he could face a fine of up to €20,000 ($21,690) as well as a maximum of five years behind bars.

The episode is but the latest of its kind as tourists from all over the world have been fined for vandalizing the Colosseum, which is considered the world’s largest amphitheater.

In 2014, a tourist from Russia was fined €20,000 for carving the letter ‘K’ on a section of the brickwork. A year later, two Americans were also arrested for carving their initials into the structure. In 2017, the Colosseum was vandalized with black spray paint, and in 2020, police also detained an Irish tourist for carving his name on the walls.

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