Terracotta theft: Chinese anger over stolen warrior thumb

The Terracotta Army were discovered in China in 1974 More

THE theft of a thumb of an ancient Terracotta Warrior statue on display in the U.S. incited a wave of criticism on Chinese social media today, following China's calls to "severely punish" the thief.

The 2000-year-old statue' worth has been estimated at $4.5 million.

No one was supposed to see them at the Franklin Institute on the night of the science after-hours event, however.

The director of the Shannxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Centre was "shocked and enraged" by the incident, according to a statement it issued, and criticised the Franklin Institute for not notifying it quickly about the incident.

Another group of 10 terracotta warriors are on display at the World Museum in the British city of Liverpool, where they will remain until October.

Michael Rohana was charged with stealing a thumb from the 2,000-year-old warrior statue last December during an ugly sweater party at the Franklin Institute.

Returning, Rohana used his cellphone as a flashlight as he stepped up onto a platform where a calvaryman stood, put his arm around the statue, then took a selfie with it.

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Just before he left the room, Rohana "appeared to break something off the Cavalryman's left hand and put it in his left pocket", said the agent.

On Dec. 22 Rohana allegedly sent a Snapchat showing the "finger" he took from "a clay warrior".

An affidavit filed in federal court earlier this month accused Michael Rohanna, a 24-year-old DE man, of breaking off and stealing the thumb from a loaned terracotta statue called "The Cavalryman", a treasured piece valued at $4.5 million. Surveillance video helped lead the Federal Bureau of Investigation to both the thumb and their suspect, Rohana.

According to the affidavit filed by FBI Art Crime Team investigator Jacob B. Archer and cited by the Inquirer, the suspect left his fingerprints all over the artwork.

Reports said that Michael Rohana, 24, of DE, 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 USA and Chinese media. He has been released on a US$15,000 bail and has handed over his passport. Rohana did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

"The warriors in Xi'an are kept far away from the public". "It seems the Americans are guilty of that too".

He added that the Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Centre would be sending two experts to Philidelphia to fix the figure and that it would be seeking compensation.

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