18-Year-Old Allegedly Rampages Through Denver Art Museum, Causing Thousands of Dollars in Damages

An accused teenage vandal was arrested after allegedly causing tens of thousands of dollars worth of damages at the Denver Art Museum.

Jake Siebenlist, 18, who appeared in court Monday with a bandaged and swollen right hand, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief for the Dec. 9 incident during which he allegedly shattered artwork from the Stampede: Animals in Art exhibition, destroying some centuries-old pieces, reports The New York Times, citing museum officials.

Authorities allege Siebenlist shoved museum guests out of his way and attempted to punch security officers who restrained him after the incident occurred in the Hamilton wing, according to the probable cause statement obtained by the Denver Post, which also reported that he tried to damage two paintings that were protected by plastic glass.

According to the probable cause statement, the suspect, who was transported to Denver Health Medical Center for minor injuries, allegedly damaged a total of 10 items, estimated at about $1.93 million.

However, a spokesperson for the Denver Art Museum tells PEOPLE, “the accurate value range totals less than $100,000, based on the determination that nearly all affected objects can be repaired through conservation activities.”

The spokesperson added, “The initial estimate was calculated immediately following the incident based on the value of the objects, as the museum’s conservation team had not yet evaluated the objects or developed repair plans.”

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Some of the artworks include Native American, Mayan and Chinese pieces with at least one of them dating back to 250-450 AD, according to the museum website.

“This was a visitor. He bought a ticket, so it was totally unpredictable that something like this could happen,” Christoph Heinrich, director of the Denver Art Museum, said in a press conference on Dec. 11 as seen in a video shared by 9News.

“If you destroy artwork in a gallery, that is, to begin with, pretty weird,” Heinrich said. “And he was very aggravated and, obviously, not in a state of mind that was reasonable. … First time in my career and in the history of the Denver Art Museum.”


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The Denver Art Museum is offering free general admission to all furloughed federal government employees plus one guest through January 31, 2019. . To obtain complimentary general admission, employees should show their Federal ID at the museum welcome desk. They will have the opportunity to explore the museum’s galleries and non-ticketed exhibitions free of charge. Please note, “Dior: From Paris to the World” is not included in general admission and requires a separate ticket. #DenverArtMuseum #Denver #Colorado

A post shared by Denver Art Museum (@denverartmuseum) on Jan 8, 2019 at 9:20am PST

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Siebenlist, who has no prior record and was to be released on a personal recognizance bond, is scheduled to be arraigned on March 14. It was not clear if he has an attorney.

The museum, which had scheduled to display the now-vandalized 300-piece exhibit until May, remains open.

A spokesperson for the Denver Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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