‘Easter Bunny’ imposter apprehended


Man being apprehended for claiming he was the Easter Bunny. Photo credit: George Johnston

A man running through campus with a white-painted face wearing only underwear was apprehended this morning around 10 a.m. The suspect, Carl Matta, was apprehended on the Gus Manolis Bridge near Sylvester’s Café.


It was a joint effort between the Chico Police Department and the University Police Department according to UPD Chief John Feeney. He noticed the suspect near First and Salem Streets, where he then started speaking to the suspect.

“He says ‘I’m the Easter Bunny’,” Feeney said.

Feeney then told the suspect that he was a little early for Easter. He continued to make small talk while he waited for another unit to join him. Feeney then asked the suspect if he was an art student because he had a paint bucket containing white paint. The suspect claimed he was an art student. The suspect then began to back away from Feeney.

The suspect proceeded to run across Kendall lawn where he dropped his bucket of paint, Feeney said.

As the suspect ran across campus, he began to take off his clothing. During the pursuit, a campus community member tripped the suspect after seeing him being chased by UPD. A UPD officer then tackled the suspect. Chief Feeney said Matta is well-known by UPD due to past incidents. He’s entered campus under the influence of drugs, Feeney said.

He may have received the paint from a home on Ninth Street according to Feeney. He then went to a fire station located on Salem and Eighth Street and painted parts of the building.


A Chico parking officer witnessed the suspect entering Chico State’s campus after witnessing him walking near Third and Hazel Streets.

“When the guy came onto campus, we received numerous calls of him on campus,” Feeney said. “I could tell he was not in a normal state of mind.”

Chief Feeney said the incident displayed UPD and CPD working well together.

“We’re very thankful for their assistance,” he said.

CPD is now in charge of the case since the incident originated off campus. Medical assistance was called because the suspect may have hurt his foot following the chase, Feeney said.

Elizabeth Castillo can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.