The Philadelphia City Government has officially apologized for the incident that occurred in December 2017 when a guest of the “ugly sweater party” in the Franklin Institute broke and stole the thumb of one of the 10 Terracotta Warriors that were in a closed area at the time.
David Oh, a member of the City Council of Philadelphia, expressed his sincerest apologies to the People of China for the damage that the visitor, identified as Michael Rohana, did to one of the statues that was loaned to the museum by the Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Center.
“On March 18, 2018, Philadelphia City Council unanimously passed a Resolution that I introduced to express the City’s apology to the People of China for the damage caused by a visitor to Philadelphia to a World Heritage Artifact loaned by the Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Center to the Franklin Institute,” Oh wrote in the apology letter.
“Please accept this resolution as an official apology for the damage that was caused to one of the most valued national treasures of China.”
A few weeks later, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in New York City Zhang Qiyue had responded to the letter that Oh sent.
According to Shanghaiist, Rohana forced his way inside the closed off area where the 10 Terracotta Warriors were located. The door was unfortunately open, the only thing preventing people from entering the room being a black rope.
The 24-year-old culprit made his way inside the dark room using his smartphone’s LED lights to illuminate the place. He then took a selfie with one of the $4.5 million statues. After taking pictures, he pried off the statue’s left thumb and hid it inside his pocket.
Weeks after the FBI noticed that the thumb had gone missing, authorities’ investigation led them to Rohana’s doorstep in Bear, Delaware, where he surrendered the thumb he stole from Franklin Institute. He was then charged with theft of a major artwork from a museum, concealment of a major artwork stolen from a museum, and interstate transportation of stolen property. Rohana was soon later released on bail.
However, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia said that if he gets convicted, the man could face up to 30 years of jail for his crime, Courier Post reported.
Images via Shine