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Man breaks into Dallas Museum of Art and damages several artworks, including 2,000-year-old Greek vases

<i>Dallas Museum of Art</i><br/>A Greek amphora from the 6th century B.C. was one of four items seriously damaged after a break-in at the Dallas Museum of Art.
Dallas Museum of Art
Dallas Museum of Art
A Greek amphora from the 6th century B.C. was one of four items seriously damaged after a break-in at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Zoe Sottile, CNN

Several ancient works of art at the Dallas Museum of Art, including Greek vessels crafted thousands of years ago, were damaged by an intruder Wednesday night.

“June 1, after Museum hours, an individual forcibly entered the Dallas Museum of Art,” the museum said in a statement.

“Museum security responded immediately and Dallas Police took the individual into custody at the scene.”

CNN did not receive a response to a request for comment from the Dallas Police Department.

In a statement shared with CNN, museum director Agustin Arteaga said the intruder was unarmed and no one was harmed in the incident. However, three ceramic Greek vessels and one Native American contemporary ceramic piece were “seriously damaged,” said Arteaga. And fewer than a dozen smaller pieces in the same glass case may have “suffered minor damages.”

The three Greek vessels included a black drinking cup called a “kylix” from 550-530 B.C. decorated with a mythic scene, an amphora from the 6th century B.C. featuring images from the Trojan War, and a lidded vessel called a “pyxis” from 450 B.C., adorned with red figures in scenes related to marriage and gender dynamics.

Also seriously damaged was a ceramic bottle in the shape of a gar fish created by Native American ceramic artist Chase Kahwinhut Earles.

“The entire collection is invaluable in the shared experiences and inspiration it provides to our visitors,” said Arteaga in the statement.

The museum noted the extent of the damage as well as the total monetary value of the damage are still unknown.

Aschelle Morgan, director of communications and public relations at the museum, told CNN they are working to determine if any of the damaged pieces can be restored.

“In terms of assessing possibility for restoration and values, our internal audit is ongoing working in collaboration with our insurers and curators,” Morgan said.

“While it is too early to make a call on what can be repaired, we are fortunate to have an incredibly talented team of experts who will do their best to salvage what is possible.”

Museum director Arteaga added an early estimate of $5 million in damages is likely higher than the actual value.

“While no one is in the position to provide an official dollar figure in this early stage of audit, we anticipate the real total could be a fraction of the original $5 million estimate reported,” said Arteaga. “We continue to be grateful that no one was harmed and for the great work done by the Dallas Police Department.”

The incident comes just days after the world-famous Mona Lisa was the target of attempted vandalism at the Louvre Museum in Paris. A visitor threw a cake at the painting’s protective glass, but the masterpiece was not damaged.

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CNN’s Megan C. Hills contributed to this report.

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