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California Tourists Take Selfie After Carving Initials Into Colosseum

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Outside Rome's Colosseum (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
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Two California tourists got in trouble after they apparently decided to carve their initials into the ancient Colosseum in Rome, Italy over the weekend. However, before getting caught, they managed to snap a selfie of themselves with their work.

The 21 and 25-year-old women, who have not been identified, allegedly used a coin to carve three-inch block letters of their initials, "J" and "N," into the wall of the amphitheater on Saturday morning, according to the Guardian. Then they took of photo of themselves at the World Heritage site for posterity.

Italian media has been posting photos of the carvings:

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Police caught the Californians and cited them for "aggravated damage on building of historical and artistic interest," Italian newspaper La Stampa reported. They may have to go before a judge and face a penalty.

The women reportedly apologized and told police, "We did not imagine it was something so serious. We'll remember for a lifetime."

A spokesperson for the Special Superintendency for the Archaeological Heritage of Rome told the Guardian: "There’s a difference in perception. Museums are treated like churches, sacred places where there are things of great value. Whereas the Colosseum is an incomplete building which has already been robbed."

It's not clear at this moment what their penalty could be. However, this comes on the heels of a 42-year-old Russian tourist getting in some hot water after he carved a nearly 10-inch high letter into the Colosseum three months ago. He was sentenced to four months in prison and given a €20,000 ($21,400 U.S. dollars) fine.

PEOPLE reported that outside the Colosseum, there are signs in English that say it's illegal to vandalize the ancient amphitheater. Though, it hasn't seemed to deter people as the Colosseum is still covered in graffiti. And ironically, the word "graffiti" derives from the Italian language.

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While California tourists have been vandalizing Rome's historical buildings, lately there have been out-of-towners defacing California's landmarks. A European street artist, André Saraiva, was caught tagging Joshua Tree National Park last month, and New Yorker Casey Nocket found herself in trouble after she graffitied various national parks including Joshua Tree National Park and Yosemite National Park.