DENVER (CBS4) – A man who damaged 10 pieces of art in the Denver Art Museum is an 18-year-old, according to authorities. It happened Sunday afternoon in the Hamilton wing and Jake Siebenlist is under arrest on criminal mischief charges.

denver art museum Hard To Understand: Denver Art Museum Artwork Damaged, Suspect Arrested

(credit: CBS)

“It’s hard for us to understand why this happened,” museum director Christoph Heinrich said.

Denver police said Siebenlist was arrested after apparently paying admission at approximately 1:45 p.m. then going into the Frederic C. Hamilton Building and causing the damage. Museum staff then alerted police.

christoph heinrich Hard To Understand: Denver Art Museum Artwork Damaged, Suspect Arrested

(credit: CBS)

The museum is assessing the damage at this point. Heinrich said a variety of different types of artwork was damaged.

“It was objects mostly from the pre-Columbian collection, modern and contemporary and one object from the Asian collection,” Heinrich said. “The pre-Columbian objects were ceramic vessels and the Chinese object was a 19th century vase.”

Heinrich said there was nothing accidental about how the vandalism was done.

“There was a lot of force involved. It was obviously a very angry young man.”

When CBS4 asked on Sunday if the person believed responsible had a weapon or tools of any kind, a spokesperson for the museum said he did not. It appears no other people were involved in any way with the incident.

denver art museum 9 Hard To Understand: Denver Art Museum Artwork Damaged, Suspect Arrested

(credit: CBS)

One gallery of the museum remains closed following the incident but the rest of the museum is open.

Siebenlist was scheduled to appear before a Denver judge on Monday afternoon.

“We don’t know anything about the motivation. It’s clearly something police are investigating,” Heinrich said.

Heinrich said it’s the first time someone has damaged art inside the museum on purpose.

Comments (3)
  1. Dave Barnes says:

    Hit him hard with paying restitution.
    And, require him to take his meds.

  2. Lakewood ED says:

    What an entitled weenie. Criminal mischief? Hopefully, the costs will push it up to a felony with hard time.

  3. Angela Swedberg says:

    This is like a gut punch. I have work in that exhibit. If damaged, mine can be repaired, but the damage to ancient historic work is unforgivable. Denver Art Museum does an excellent job as the custodians of art and history – What happened is uncalled for and inexcusable. As a side note….if this cretan is found to be on Meth or other Drugs…..You don’t even want to know how I think about what to do with him.

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