An unknown vandal went for a joyride during the overnight hours Tuesday and damaged the football field at First Energy Stadium, home of the Cleveland Browns, the team and police said.
According to the team, someone broke into the stadium and drove an unidentified vehicle onto the grass playing surface, causing “some superficial damage.”
Aerial News 5 Cleveland TV footage showed looping tire tracks spanning half the field. Video shows tire treads in the shape of a spiral encircling most of the western side of the field.
The team said it has provided information to Cleveland police, who said it appears someone jumped a fence and used a golf cart to cause the damage.
Police Acting Chief Dorothy Todd confirmed to USA TODAY Wednesday the department is investigating the incident but was still gathering information.
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As of Wednesday morning, no arrest had been announced in the case.
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The Browns said the stadium’s grounds maintenance crew is repairing the damage to the field ahead of Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay.
“We take pride in the strong reviews and reputation of our stadium’s playing surface,” the Browns said in a statement. “We have been in touch with the NFL on the matter and are confident after repair our field will be ready for Sunday’s game.”
Cleveland spokeswoman Marie Zickefoose told USA TODAY the city is working with the Browns and law enforcement as they investigate this incident.
“We are glad to know that the field will be ready for Sunday’s game,” Zickerfoose said in an email.
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On Wednesday, the vandalism drew mixed reactions from Browns fans.
“Reminds me of a girl who keys her boyfriend’s car for being unfaithful – deep devotion gone off the rails,” 44-year-old Jackie Weiner, a life-long Browns fan from Franklin, Tennessee, told USA TODAY.
“If it was a Browns fan, I’m not sure why you’d do something to make Cleveland’s reputation worse,” said Marissa Geraci, a 42-year-old Browns fan. “We already feel like we’re the brunt of most of the jokes in the league.”
The Browns, who have lost six of seven games, have played at the lakefront stadium since their return as an expansion team in 1999.
Last week, the Browns’ game at Buffalo was moved to Detroit because of a blizzard that dumped more than 6 feet of snow on the Bills’ home field in Orchard Park, New York.
Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers is set for 1:00 p.m. ET.
Contributing: The Associated Press.
Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.