KEVIN CHEN WRITES – According to Xinhua News Agency, a man went into the Terra-Cotta Warriors exhibition at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and stole a thumb from one of the precious statues. It took more than two weeks for the museum to notice the stolen thumb and after five days, the museum asked the FBI to get involved.
In good time, FBI traced the evidence to a man named Michael Rohana, 24, who attended an “Ugly Sweater Party” at the museum. Specialists claimed that he broke the thumb while taking a selfie with the Terra-Cotta Warrior and put it in his pocket. He left the museum soon after that with two of his friends. FBI agents found Rohana at his home in Delaware. He admitted to his actions and handed back the thumb he hid in his house.
Rohana was arrested, but then released on a 15,000 USD bail. The court asked him to hand over his passport, take a drug test, and then banned him from leaving the country until the end of his trial.
The Terra-Cotta Warriors statues were borrowed from the Xi’an Museum. They have more than 2,000 years of history and each statue is worth more than 3 million USD. Xi’an Museum expressed its strong condemnation of this type of conduct and urged the Franklin Institute to improve its security system.
A spokeswoman from the Franklin Institute apologized for the tragedy and plans to repair the broken statue. The spokeswoman also says the security conductor on shift that night did not follow the standard procedure, and he will be punished for his oversight.
The statue that lost its thumb was the Cavalryman, one of First Emperor of Qin’s funeral objects.