This is a TNB Public Service Announcement. Don’t Harvest Body Parts.
We at TNB were not aware this message needed to be provided. We were wrong. It seems that body parts, once on display, become an irresistible attractant.
First, from February, we have The Adventure of the Terra Cotta Thumb… except that Sherlock Holmes wasn’t needed here. Security cameras were enough.
The suspect, identified by the FBI as 24-year-old Michael Rohana, was attending an “Ugly Sweater Party” at the museum on Dec. 21 when he beelined for the special exhibit housing the warrior, which was then closed.
Here’s the first problem. The museum where the display was featured was the Franklin Institute. It’s one of the world’s preeminent science museums. While it behooves any museum to encourage visitors, the notion of holding an “ugly sweater party” at a science museum seems like a mistaken attempt to attract drunks and hipsters and, of course, drunk hipsters.
So, what did Rohana do?
He took a selfie. Multiples, actually. With his friends around, he posed with the an ancient terra cotta warrior that was on loan from China and generally enjoyed himself. That’s when he decided to commemorate his achievement with a souvenir…. the statue’s thumb. (Philly.com)
Despite having a few suspects on video sneaking into the exhibit, the FBI was able to identify Rohana because he left, of all things, his thumbprints all over the statue. The thumb was recovered, and the museum has been attempting repairs.
China is demanding severe penalties. (NBC) As yet, Rohana’s punishment is to be determined.
Happily, the thumb was found. The same cannot be said for Abraham Lincoln’s hand, stolen in 2016 from the Kankakee County Museum and never recovered. (Smithsonian)
At least those were only sculpted body parts. New Zealand had to up the ante this week, as they arrested a man for absconding with toes from a human parts exhibition, Body Worlds. His name is as yet unreported, but we know he’s from Upper Hutt. From TV New Zealand:
The 28-year-old appeared in the Auckland District Court today facing one charge of stealing the toes of a dead body from the Body Worlds exhibition at Princes Wharf.
The maximum penalty for stealing the toes is seven years’ imprisonment.
Remember, the next time you’re tempted to just harvest a body part or two… don’t.
Question of the night: what’s your favorite art piece?