Dude stole Terracotta warrior’s thumb during ‘ugly sweater party’ at Philly museum
Who will guard the guardians?
After attending an after-hours “ugly sweater party” at a Philadelphia museum in December, one reveler apparently decided to leave with a little, 2,000-year-old souvenir to remember the occasion by.
According to the FBI, the 24-year-old man named Michael Rohana managed to sneak into the Franklin Institute’s temporary exhibit, “Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor,” while the party was going on. The exhibit, which is on loan from China, contains archaeological treasures worth millions of dollars, including 10 of the famous terracotta soldiers built to guard China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, in the afterlife.
While the exhibit was closed to the public at the time of the event, the door to the room was open, all Rohana had to do was step by a black rope held up by two stanchions, reports the Courier Post.
Once inside, he used his smartphone camera’s flashlight to look around and snapped a selfie with his arm around one of the warriors. Before leaving, he pried off the $4.5 million statue’s left thumb and concealed it inside his pocket.
While all of his actions were caught on surveillance tape, Rohana left no doubt as to his guilt by sending a Snapchat message to his friend the following day, showing off the thumb.
The theft took place on December 21st. It wasn’t until four weeks later that the FBI knocked on Rohana’s door in Bear, Delaware, asking about the thumb. He then went to his bedroom and pulled out the artifact from the top right drawer of his desk.
He has been charged with the theft of a major artwork from a museum, concealment of a major artwork stolen from a museum, and interstate transportation of stolen property, according to a FBI affidavit.
The Terracotta Warriors exhibit is scheduled to continue at the Franklin Institute until March 4th. In the meantime, the institute has promised to beef up its security measures, stating that “standard closing procedures were not followed” on that night.