FBI: Partygoer stole terracotta warrior’s thumb at museum party

terracotta warrior

Terracotta soldier with horse, unrelated to statues that were displayed at the Franklin Institute. Public domain image

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Federal authorities say a Delaware man snapped a selfie before stealing part of a $4.5 million statue at a Philadelphia museum.

According to an arrest affidavit filed Friday, 24-year-old Michael Rohana was attending an Ugly Sweater Party at the Franklin Institute on December 21 when he entered the “Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor” exhibit.

Authorities say Rohana took photos while posing next to a statue known as “The Cavalryman,” and then snapped off the statue’s left thumb.

Museum staff noticed the thumb was missing on January 8. The FBI traced it to Rohana five days later. Reportedly, the broken-off piece was recovered from a desk drawer in Rohana’s Delaware home. According to reports, Rohana has been charged with transporting stolen goods across a state line and has been released on bail.

A museum spokeswoman said the statue will be repaired. She said a security contractor did not follow standard procedures the night of the alleged theft.

The statue dates to at least 209 B.C. A report in USA Today states that Chinese authorities are “furious” and are demanding “severe punishment” for the alleged perpetrator.

Xinhua news agency said the Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Center, which gave its permission for the exhibition to take place in Philadelphia, has organized more than 260 overseas exhibitions over the past 40 years. An official with the center said they have never come across a situation such as this.


Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This information may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Auction Central News International contributed to this report.