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$100K stunt: Police estimate damage to Sphere around six figures

Updated February 9, 2024 - 7:41 pm

A local anti-abortion advocate caused about $100,000 in damage to the Sphere when he climbed the structure as part of a publicity stunt, police said.

Maison Des Champs, 24, faces charges of destruction of property, conspiracy to destroy property and disregarding the safety of persons or property in connection with the Wednesday climb.

Police also arrested Aaron Hurley, 39, Lori Hurley, 38, and David Velasquez, 25. Police accused them of recording Des Champs’ climb and handing out fliers explaining the stunt.

According to a Metropolitan Police Department arrest report, Sphere staff estimated that Des Champs caused about $100,000 in damage to some of the millions of LED lights on the structure.

In 2021, Des Champs scaled the Aria to protest a COVID-19 mask mandate. On Wednesday, according to the report, Des Champs bragged to officers that he had never been convicted and that he would not be convicted in this case.

The Hurleys, a married couple from Wisconsin, refused to speak with police. Velasquez launched a drone to record Des Champs climb but claimed he happened to be driving by and saw the climb taking place.

According to the report, this type of incident had been rehearsed by the Sphere. If a climber refused to be taken from the inside, a helicopter would have to be deployed to remove them safely.

Des Champs posted bond and is due in court on March 14.

Contact David Wilson at dwilson@reviewjournal.com.

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