Dallas Museum of Art orders full security reassessment after June burglary

Responding to publicly expressed concerns about a security outage that led to a vandal invading and roaming the halls of the Dallas Museum of Art on June 1, several board members and the museum’s director issued a statement on Friday. forceful press, promising a complete reassessment of DMA Security.

“Over the past few weeks,” the announcement began, “we have spent a great deal of time reflecting on and evaluating the circumstances surrounding the break-in at the museum. This experience has prompted us to further review and evaluate our measures and facilities. with the aim of better deterring and mitigating similar situations in the future.

“We take very seriously the duty we have to our patrons, supporters and the city of Dallas as a whole to be responsible stewards of the priceless art in our care. As a community museum, we also believe in continued transparency and due diligence as we move forward together after this unfortunate event. »

Signatories to the statement included Board Chair Catherine Rose; Walter Elcock, Acting Chairman of the Board; director DMA Agustín Arteaga; the new Chairman of the Board, Gowri Sharma; and new board chairman Jeffrey S. Ellerman.

The five pledged in the announcement “to hire a third-party security consultant to ensure that our security measures exceed best practice standards. This review is in addition to a broader ongoing assessment of our systems and facilities to inform a plan for the future of our museum. We look forward to working in partnership with the City of Dallas to ensure we continue to serve our community in the best way possible. »

A Dallas Police Department crime scene analyst photographs Brian Hernandez outside the Dallas Museum of Art after he was apprehended following a burglary call, June 1, 2022. Damage was caused to three ancient Greek ships inside the Dallas downtown museum.(Avi Adelman)

At around 9.40pm on June 1, 21-year-old Brian Hernandez approached the museum’s main entrance on North Harwood Street just before he smashed its window with a metal chair and, according to police, entered inside about six minutes later. He was not arrested until police arrived at 10:10 p.m.

By the time they got there, he had freely roamed three floors of the building, including its former Mediterranean Gallery, its Decorative Arts and Design Gallery and its lobby – where two security guards located him, police say. .

Along the way, he smashed display cases and damaged other museum property such as telephones, signage and computer equipment, police said. He backtracked at least once, they said, leaving the old Mediterranean gallery to retrieve a metal stool from the museum entrance, which he then brandished.

The biggest casualties were works of art: three ancient Greek ships from the 5th and 6th centuries BC. shattered into pieces when Hernandez, police say, slammed into the display cases that contained them. A contemporary Native American artwork followed the same path when Hernandez knocked it to the ground, police said.

Hernandez was charged with criminal mischief of $300,000 or more, a first-degree felony. He appeared to seal his own fate when, amid the rampage, he picked up a phone and called 911, police said. When a dispatcher called back, museum security responded and “stated they hadn’t called 911 and there shouldn’t be anyone inside the museum.”

Hernandez’s bail was set at $100,000. On Friday, he remained in the Dallas County Jail. His public defender declined to comment on the charges.

In a statement released the day after the incident, the museum said he was unarmed.

Barelli said he couldn’t understand how Hernandez “could have done all this damage without anyone responding.”

Dan Singer contributed to this report.

Two experts raise serious questions about Dallas Museum of Art burglary

Leave a Comment