A man who broke into the Dallas Museum of Art overnight and destroyed more than $5 million in irreplaceable artwork told police he did it because he “got mad at his girl.”
Brian Hernandez, 21, was arrested late Wednesday night at the museum after he forced his way inside and destroyed several items.
Hernandez shattered the front entrance glass with a metal chair at about 9:40 p.m., then made his way inside where he purposefully damaged or destroyed $5,153,000 worth of artwork including several pots and statues.
A guard told police that he and another guard went to investigate after a motion sensor went off and found Hernandez. He told the guards that “he got mad at his girl so he broke in and started destroying property.”
The guards called the police and Hernandez voluntarily waited on a bench until they arrived a short time later.
Police officers along with the director of security did a walk-through of the museum and discovered that several art displays and cases had been destroyed.
Surveillance video showed 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 “Bath 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,” according to the police affidavit.
A computer, phone, bench, and signage were also destroyed.
“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 confessed to the crime and 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.
Though some of the permanent collection galleries were closed due to the ongoing investigation, The Dallas Museum of Art was open to visitors Thursday.