American man steals a thumb of Chinese terracotta warrior after selfie

12:50 PM | 20 Feb, 2018
American man steals a thumb of Chinese terracotta warrior after selfie
Share
BEIJING - Chinese authorities are demanding exemplary punishment for an American man who allegedly stole a terracotta warrior’s thumb after taking a selfie with it at a museum in Pennsylvania.

Chinese authorities have also demanded compensation for the $4.5 million statute.

Reports said that Michael Rohana, 24, of Delaware, was charged with theft of a major artwork from a museum, concealment of major artwork stolen from a museum and interstate transportation of stolen property, reported U.S. and Chinese media.

China's Xinhua news agency, citing the FBI, said Rohana "used a cellular telephone as a flashlight, looked at various exhibits displayed in the then-closed showroom, stepped up onto a platform supporting one of the statues, and took a selfie with it".

"Rohana, according to the affidavit, put his hand on the left hand of the statue, appeared to break something off from the Calvaryman's left hand and put it in his pocket, and then left."

The museum did not realize the finger was missing until weeks later, on January 8. According to Xinhua, a special agent from the FBI’s Art Crime team tracked down the thief. During questioning, Rohana admitted that he had hidden the thumb in his desk drawer.

The center said it had loaned statues over the last 40 years but had never experienced a similar incident before.

The warrior was one of 10 statutes which were loaned to the Philadelphia museum last September for the  Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor exhibition.

The statues are among 8,000 soldiers, chariots and horses which were first unearthed in 1974 in Xian, China's northwestern Shaanxi province.