The man has been identified as 27-year-old Ivan Dimitrov, a Bulgarian national who works as a fitness instructor and delivery driver in Bristol, U.K., and also goes by the name Ivan Hawkins. He was on a three-week holiday across Europe with his girlfriend, Hayley Bracey.
He was captured by fellow tourist Ryan Lutz using keys to carve his name and that of his girlfriend onto the exterior wall of the ancient Roman amphitheater in a video that went viral after being posted on Reddit. Dimitrov realized he was being filmed when Lutz can be heard saying, “Are you serious man? That’s fucked up man.”
In response, Dimitrov smiled at the camera and Lutz is heard muttering “stupid asshole” while walking away.
Unsurprisingly, the incident stoked widespread outrage online. Italian authorities used CCTV footage and hotel records to identify the couple and then initiated a search that traced them to Bulgaria.
Following his arrest, Dimitrov has lost much of his initial bravado. “He has expressed his apologies and sincere remorse for what he did,” Roberto Martina of the Carabinieri told the . “He told us he was very upset by what he had done. I think he was worried about the consequences of any trial.”
“He was naturally worried about the legal implications, and these were all explained to him.”
The authorities explained that he would go on trial next year and could face a sentence of two to five years in jail, as well as a fine of up to €15,000 ($16,300). Martina pointed out that the investigation should be relatively quick and simple thanks to the strong evidence provided by the video.
Dimitrov’s girlfriend, who is 33, has so far not been charged. “The girl is not part of any complaint so is an innocent party as far as we are concerned although technically, she could be seen as an accessory,” said Martina.