18-year-old arrested in shattering of sculptures at Denver Art Museum

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DENVER -- An 18-year-old was arrested on suspicion of criminal mischief for shattering glass sculptures and damaging other pieces at the Denver Art Museum, police said Monday.

Jake Siebenlist was taken into custody Sunday at the museum in downtown Denver.

Witnesses told police that Siebenlist pushed a glass sculpture to the ground then began to throw other sculptures around the room. Court records say he also tried to damage two paintings that were protected by plastic glass.

Museum officials said 10 pieces were damaged, including pre-Columbian ceramic vessels and a 19th century Chinese vase.

The pieces were part of an exhibit called "Stampede: Animals in Art," highlighting animals' presence in art from various centuries and cultures.

Museum director Christoph Heinrich said he could not immediately provide a value of the damaged pieces.

"Every object for us has a cultural value that is enormous," he said. "Our conservators are stellar and I am very confident that they will be able to conserve and restore hopefully most of the objects."

Christoph Heinrich, Director of the Denver Art Museum said, “It’s not a gallery that is controversial in any way, and I think we are really dealing here more with a screwed up mind.”

It was not clear if Siebenlist has an attorney. He was being held in the Denver jail without bond ahead of a court appearance.

The museum provided surveillance footage of the incident to police.

Heinrich credited museum staff with protecting other pieces, including security staff who physically tackled the vandal.

The 4th floor of the museum reopened Monday except for the gallery where the damaged pieces were displayed. Heinrich said he hopes the gallery will reopen to museum visitors this week.

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