$5 million worth of ancient artwork was destroyed in the Dammam metropolitan area in a one-night raid, according to police

The man who broke into Dallas Museum of Art Dallas police said Wednesday night that he caused an estimated $5.153 million in damages, and destroyed property including three ancient Greek objects before his arrest.

Police said Brian Hernandez, 21, approached the museum’s glass entrance doors with a metal chair around 9:40 p.m. and began damaging items as soon as they entered.

Hernandez broke into a glass display case and smashed a piece of land 6th century BC Greek amphora – a kind of ceramic vases – and a Greek chest from 450 BC The pieces together are estimated to be worth about $5 million, police said, based on information from Kenneth Bennett, DMA’s director of security and operations. They note that estimates can change after the final evaluation by the museum’s curator and museum insurers.

Dallas Police Department Crime Scene Analyst Filmed Brian Hernandez Outside...
A Dallas Police Department crime scene analyst photographed Brian Hernandez outside the Dallas Museum of Art after his arrest Wednesday.Follow Favorite

He is also accused of damaging a A bowl from 550-530 BC which amounted to $100,000. Police said he broke into a display box, picked up a KADO ceramic doll bottle Imagine a crocodile dress and hit it on the ground, smashing it. The piece was valued at $10,000.

“This was an isolated incident perpetrated by an individual acting alone, whose intent was not to steal the art or anything on display,” museum officials said in a statement Thursday. “However, some artwork has been damaged, and we are still in the process of assessing the extent of the damage.”

The museum is open to the public Thursday, including “Cartier and Islamic Art” Exhibition. Some permanent collection galleries will be closed for the ongoing investigation.

Shattered Objects is among more than 24,000 works in the multicultural DMA collection, which spans 5,000 years. Even with their price tags, they are not the most expensive items in the museum. For eight months in 2012, Leonardo da Vinci’s painting is now considered the world’s most valuable artwork Leaning on a rack in the storage room in the building. It was sold at an auction to the Saudi crown prince for $450.3 million in 2017.

Broken glass sits at the entrance to the DMA on Wednesday night.  Police said the suspect...
Broken glass sits at the entrance to the DMA on Wednesday night. Police said the suspect approached the museum with a metal chair before storming the museum.(Elias Valverde II/staff photographer)

Police said Hernandez read his rights and confessed to the officers. He was charged with criminal mischief of more than or equal to $300,000. Warranty is not specified.

The museum indicated that Hernandez was unarmed.

A DMA security guard found Hernandez in the lobby of the museum after his motion sensor exploded and arrested him before the police were called. Police said Hernandez called 911 from inside the museum. The police responded around 10:10 p.m.

Dallas police said Thursday that Hernandez is being held in Dallas County Jail.

Police said the guard told police that Hernandez said “he got angry at his girl so he broke into the house and started destroying property.”

The museum is open to the public Thursday, including
The museum is open to the public on Thursdays, including the exhibition “Cartier and Islamic Art”. Some permanent collection galleries were closed during the police investigation.(Elias Valverde II/staff photographer)

Police said Bennett, DMA’s director of security and operations, showed them a video clip showing the suspect damaging and destroying museum property. In addition to the artwork, Hernandez is accused of causing tens of thousands of dollars in damages to other property including display cases, furniture, computers and phones.

“As we are devastated by this incident, we are grateful that no one was hurt. The safety of our staff and visitors, along with the care and protection of art in our department, are our top priorities,” the museum said.

Mary McDermott Cook, a member of the board of directors of the DMA, whose late parents donated or made available thousands of artifacts to the museum, got a first-hand report on the vandalism Thursday morning from museum director Agustín Arteaga. Cook said the call “made me sick in my stomach.”

“I feel like everything has gone wrong, and this is a crazy thing,” she said. “But what I also said was, ‘Let’s face it. It’s just stuff. No one was hurt. And we have the technology and the expertise to put the broken stuff back together. And thank God for that.”

Michael Granberry and Maggie Prosser contributed to this report.