A man accused of breaking into the Dallas Museum of Art overnight and destroying more than $5 million in irreplaceable artwork tells police he broke in and caused damage because he “got mad at his girl.”
According to an arrest warrant obtained by NBC 5 Thursday afternoon, a man identified by police as 21-year-old Brian Hernandez was apprehended late Wednesday night at the museum after he forced his way inside and destroyed several items.
The arresting document said Hernandez smashed the glass front entrance to the museum with a metal chair at about 9:40 p.m. and once inside intentionally damaged or destroyed $5,153,000 worth of artwork including several pots and statues.
A guard told police after a motion sensor went off he and another guard went to investigate the concourse and found the man. The guards asked him what he was doing and he said “he got mad at his girl so he broke in and started destroying property.”
The guard told Hernandez to sit on a bench while he called the police, which he did. That’s where officers found him when they arrived a short time later.
Police did a walk-through of the museum with the director of security and noted multiple art displays and cases had been destroyed.
Surveillance video reviewed by Dallas Police and referenced in the arresting document said Hernandez used a stool to destroy at least two display cases worth $17,000 each along with four pieces, a “Black Figure Panel Amphora 6th Century Greece” pot and a “Red Figure Pyxis 450 B.C.” pot that were both shattered. The pots, together, were valued at $5 million. A 6th Century ceramic cup, “Kylix Herakles and Nemeon Lion,” valued at $100,000, and the Caddo statue “Batah Kuhuh Alligator Gar Fish,” valued at $10,000, were also destroyed.
“The items inside of the display cases that were destroyed are rare ancient artifacts that are extremely precious and one of a kind,” police said in the affidavit.
Other items, including a computer, a phone, a bench and signage were also destroyed.
Police said final valuations of the damage done inside the museum may change based on the final assessment by the museum’s curator and insurance provider. Photos of the damaged and destroyed artwork have not yet been released.
“While we are devastated by this incident, we are grateful that no one was harmed,” the museum said in a statement. “The safety of our staff and visitors, along with the care and protection of the art in our stewardship, are our utmost priorities.”
Hernandez was booked into the Dallas County Jail on a charge of criminal mischief greater than $300,000 and is being held on a bond of $100,000. Police said during an interview with detectives Hernandez confessed to destroying the property. Jail records did not list an attorney.
Though some of the permanent collection galleries were closed due to the ongoing investigation, The Dallas Museum of Art was open to visitors Thursday.