Partygoer accused of stealing thumb from $4.5 million 'cultural treasure'

In China Terracota Warrior Thumb Theft Triggers Outrage

Authorities with the FBI's Art Crime Team visited Rohanna's home in January after reviewing surveillance footage from the night of an "ugly sweater" Christmas party at the museum on December 21.

Reports said that Michael Rohana, aged 24, from the state of DE, was attending an "ugly Christmas jumper party" at the institute on Decemeber 21 a year ago when he made his way into the museum's special exhibit, Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor.

The soldier is part of a "Terracotta Army" that provided after-life security at the burial complex of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang.

The man left the room, but not before snapping off one of the statues' fingers, which he then placed in his coat's pocket.

Museum staff noticed the missing thumb January 8 and the Federal Bureau of Investigation later traced it to Rohana, who admitted he kept the thumb in a desk drawer.

Another friend said Rohana posted a photo of "a finger" from a terracotta warrior on his Snapchat account one day after the party.

"We ask that the USA severely punish the perpetrator", the organization's Wu Haiyun said, according to the BBC.

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It is one of 10 Chinese terra-cotta warriors on loan to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

Wu also "strongly condemned" Franklin and said it was "careless" to let the theft happen.

The Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relic Exchange Center plans to send two experts to the United States to fix the thumb, according to China's state news agency Xinhua.

China's official news agency Xinhua reported Rohana admitted to authorities he had the thumb piece in a desk drawer.

An official with the Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Center told Chinese state media Xinhua that over the past 40 years they have organised more than 260 overseas exhibitions and have never had a situation such as this.

The terracotta army, discovered in China's Xi'an city in 1974, has been described as the greatest archaeological find of the 20th Century. He has been released on a US$15,000 bail and has handed over his passport. The terracotta statues were built by the emperor who believed they would protect him in the afterlife. The special exhibit will run through March 4th. She blames the incident on a contractor who did not follow security protocols the night of the theft.

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