Mistrial declared for man who snapped $4.5M statue's thumb

April 10, 2019 - 10:39 am

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A jury is unable to reach a verdict in the trial of a Delaware man who admitted he broke a thumb off a $4.5 million statue at a Philadelphia museum.

Michael Rohana was attending a Christmas-themed "Ugly Sweater" party at the Franklin Institute in December 2017 when he entered a traveling exhibit featuring ancient Chinese terra cotta warrior statues.

Authorities say the 25-year-old took photos while posing next to a statue known as "The Cavalryman," then snapped off the statue's left thumb. The vandalism outraged Chinese officials.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that a jury deadlocked Tuesday on charges of theft and concealment of an object of cultural heritage. Rohana's lawyers argued he wasn't charged under the right law.

A mistrial was declared. Prosecutors say they'll decide by May whether to retry the case.