Stolen thumb could land DE man in federal prison for 20 years, jury to deliberate

John McDevitt
April 05, 2019 - 7:25 pm
HAIKOU, Feb. 15, 2018 (Xinhua) -- Photo taken on Feb. 15, 2018 shows Terra-Cotta Warriors during an exhibition of "Civilization of Qin (221-207 B.C.) and Han Dynasties (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.)" in Hainan Museum in Haikou, south China's Hainan Province.



PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- The vandalism and theft of a thumb from a 2,000-year-old Chinese warrior statue, on display at a Philadelphia museum last December, has a Delaware man facing federal felony charges. Today, closing arguments concluded and the jury is expected to deliberate starting on Monday morning.  

In closing arguments defense attorney Catherine Henry told the jury this case should not be in federal court and at the very most it’s a vandalism case. She says this incident was no "Mission Impossible" or "Oceans 11.” 

Henry went on to say that her client, 23-year-old Michael Rohana, is no art thief and that he had no intention of profiting off of piece of the Terracotta Army statue.

Courtesy of The Franklin Institute

Rohana’s attorney says this case has little to do with her client and all to do with the Chinese government -- who owns the statue as well as the Franklin Institute, who were the custodians of the artifact.

Prosecuting attorney K.T. Newton told the jury that statement by the defense is “insulting."

Newton says there is no evidence of a motive to appease China, or protect the Franklin Institute. She says that this case is about what Rohana did or didn't do.

During the trial, the defendant admitted to breaking the thumb off of the terracotta statue during a holiday party at the museum. 

Rohana also told the court that he took the thumb home and put it in his desk drawer until the FBI came to his home to recover it.

If Rohana is found guilty he could face up to 20 years in a federal prison.