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The cultural relics authority of northwest China's Shaanxi Province will send two experts to fix a terracotta warrior statue whose thumb was stolen by a member of the public while on display at a Philadelphia museum past year.

The suspect, identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as 24-year-old Michael Rohana, was attending an "Ugly Sweater Party" at the museum on December 21 when he beelined for the special exhibit housing the warrior, which was then closed.

According to surveillance camera footage, after the two other party guests had left the room, Rohana took a selfie with his arm draped over the shoulder of one of the statues. They are considered one of China's most important archeological finds.

Last week, Michael Rohana, 24, was arrested for stealing the thumb which he reportedly broke while he was attempting to take a selfie.

China is planning to send "two experts to the USA to assess the damage and fix the statue with the recovered thumb", says BBC.

After museum staff noticed the damage on January 8, a special agent from the FBI's Art Crime Team tracked down Rohana in DE a few days later.

Rohana took the agent upstairs and showed him the missing thumb, which he pulled out of his desk drawer, the affidavit said.

A museum spokeswoman says the statue will be repaired.

News of Rohana's alleged assault on the 210 B.C. -era statue has angered China, which reveres the thousands of terra-cotta warrior statues as treasured cultural artifacts.

"We call on the United States side to severely punish the person who committed such a damaging act of vandalism and theft of humanity's cultural heritage", the director of the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relic Exchange Centre told the Beijing Youth Daily Sunday. "Their historical and artistic value are impossible to value. we express strong resentment and condemnation towards this theft and the destruction of our heritage".

The exhibit is open through March 4.

Terracotta Warriors which guarded the tomb of China's First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, on loan from China are displayed in The World Museum, Liverpool, Britain February 6, 2017.

Rohana is now out on bail and has handed over his passport, Xinhua reported.

The statues were discovered in China's Xi'an city in 1974 by a group of Chinese farmers.

In a statement on Wednesday night, the Franklin Institute said "standard closing procedures were not followed" by a security contractor on the night of the party.


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