Angry boyfriend broke into art museum and destroyed $5m worth of artwork was ‘mad at his daughter’

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Texas man breaks into art museum and destroys $5m worth of irreplaceable ancient Greek artifacts and a Native American ‘effigy bottle’ – telling police he carried out the rampage because he was “angry with his daughter”

  • Brian Hernandez, 21, smashed the front door of the Dallas Museum of Art, then did the same for up to $5 million worth of ancient artifacts
  • Two of the artifacts were a pair of ancient Greek pots from the 6th century BCE, the pair of which alone could be worth $5 million
  • Hernandez called 9-11 on himself from inside the museum before being apprehended by security, and he confessed his crimes to the officers who arrested him.

A 21-year-old man broke into an art museum and destroyed $5 million worth of irreplaceable ancient Greek artifacts after a fight with his girlfriend.

Brian Hernandez, 21, was apprehended by security officers during his rampage Wednesday night at the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas.

He later told Dallas police he decided to destroy the priceless old artwork because he was “angry with his daughter.”

Hernandez destroyed at least three ancient Greek artifacts that had survived 2,500 years before his arrival.

He also destroyed a contemporary Native American coin, a Greek cup from around 540 BCE, and the museum’s glass front door.

Early estimates of Hernandez’s wrath were $5,153,000.

Brian Hernandez, 21, was apprehended after destroying up to $5 million worth of ancient art and artifacts inside the Dallas Museum of Art

6th century BCE black-figure panel amphora destroyed by Hernandez

6th century BCE red-figure pyxis destroyed by Hernandez

Two of the items destroyed by Hernandez, both dating from Ancient Greece to the 6th century BCE. The pair alone could be worth up to $5 million

The rampage began around 9:40 p.m. Wednesday night, when Hernandez smashed the museum’s glass front door with a metal chair.

Police say surveillance footage shows Hernandez using a stool to smash through two storefronts and numerous old artworks. Two of those coins were a pair of pots worth $5 million together.

At one point, he picked up a contemporary piece of Native American ceramic effigy worth $10,000 and threw it to the ground where it shattered into pieces. He also slaughtered an ancient Greek cup worth $100,000.

“The items inside the display cases that were destroyed are rare ancient artifacts that are extremely valuable and one-of-a-kind,” police said in an affidavit.

Black-figure kylix destroyed by Hernandez worth $100,000, dating from the 6th century BCE

Black-figure kylix destroyed by Hernandez worth $100,000, dating from the 6th century BCE

A bottle with a contemporary Native American image worth approximately $10,000.  Security footage shows Hernandez lifting the object and smashing it to the ground

A bottle with a contemporary Native American image worth approximately $10,000. Security footage shows Hernandez lifting the object and smashing it to the ground

In addition to damaged artifacts, Hernandez wreaked havoc on a phone, computer, and bench.

A security guard found Hernandez in the museum’s main lobby after a motion detection sensor was triggered. When the guard asked Hernandez what he was doing, he said he replied that “he got mad at his daughter, so he broke in and started destroying property.”

Police say Hernandez also called 9-11 on himself from inside the museum. Police arrived at the scene around 10:10 p.m.

Hernandez was arrested and confessed to his crimes to officers, according to police.

Museum director Agustín Arteaga said in a statement Thursday that the museum is working with insurers to assess the damage and that the estimate may be lower than the initial figure of $5 million.

“We anticipate the actual total could be a fraction of the original estimate of $5 million,” he said.

The museum was open Thursday, while some of the sections damaged by Hernandez remained closed as the investigation continues.

Dallas police outside the Dallas Museum of Art after Hernandez broke in and destroyed art and artifacts

Dallas police outside the Dallas Museum of Art after Hernandez broke in and destroyed art and artifacts

The broken glass entrance door to the museum.  On the right, the metal chair with which Hernandez began his rampage

The broken glass entrance door to the museum. On the right, the metal chair with which Hernandez began his rampage


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