China Accusingly Points its Missing Finger at a US Citizen
A 24-year-old American suspect, identified as Michael Rohana by the FBI, has allegedly broken off a finger of one the renown terracotta soldiers while at the museum for an “Ugly Sweater Party” with his friends on December 21st.
After sneaking into the exhibit at the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia, the suspect reportedly took a selfie and damaged the 2000-year-old, $4.5 million statue.
Incriminating evidence includes Rohana’s selfies depicting him wrapped around the “Cavalryman” statue, his fingerprints spread througout the scene, and video footage of him strolling around the exhibit.
According to FBI Art Crime Team investigator Jacob B., when traced back to his home in Bear, Delaware and confronted on January 13, the suspect promptly revealed the secret hiding place of the missing thumb: his drawer.
As reported by The New York Times, Michael Rohana was charged last week with theft, concealment of artwork, and interstate transportation of stolen property. He was subsequently released on bail.
In response to the crime, an official from the Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Center, in charge of the organization of the abroad statues, demanded that a stricter punishment be implemented on the suspect.
“We call on the American side to severely punish the person who committed this destruction and theft of mankind’s cultural heritage,” declared the anonymous official to the Beijing Youth Daily, a Communist affiliated newspaper.
Back in China, home of the internationally recognized artworks, the scandal inspired outrage, interpreted as a sign of disrespect. Deriving from one of China’s most significant archeological findings, 10 out of its 8,000 statues had just recently been lent to the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia on September 30th.
The specific statue in question depicts a Chinese warrior symbolizing strength, supposedly built and buried to protect China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, in the realms of his afterlife over 2,000 years ago.
America’s immediate reaction was that of categorizing the infringement of security measures as an anomaly, the security constructor of the museum having supposedly failed to follow the “standard closing procedures” on the night of the occurrence.
In attempts to demonstrate their intention to avoid future mishaps of the sort, the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia stated that they “have thoroughly reviewed [their] security protocol and procedures, and have taken appropriate action where needed,” emphasizing that they had also joined forces with the F.B.I.
The Beijing Youth Daily was told by a Chinese official from the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relic Exchange Center that they intend to send two art maintenance experts to the United States so as to assist in repairing the damaged warrior statue.