A Dingbat German Student Broke Into an Australian Natural History Museum to Take Selfies With Dinosaur Skeletons

The man also stole an employee's cowboy hat, which he wore during his visit.

The man who broke into the Australian Museum on the morning of May 10, 2020.
The man who broke into the Australian Museum on the morning of May 10, 2020.

The lockdown has left many museums more susceptible than ever to burglars—a fact laid painfully bare by the brazen, much-publicized theft of a prized Van Gogh painting from the Singer Laren Museum in the Netherlands in March. 

But the latest lockdown break-in, at the Australian Museum in Sydney two weekends ago, was not about stealing masterpieces. At around 1 a.m. on a Sunday night, a German student named Paul Kuhn broke into the venue after climbing nearby scaffolding. Once inside, he walked around for 40 minutes taking selfies with the natural history museum’s dinosaur displays, including one with his head in a T. rex’s mouth.

Kuhn also made off with an unidentified artwork and stole an employee’s cowboy hat, which he proceeded to wear for the rest of his visit, like a really cool dude. The whole thing was caught on the building’s CCTV. 

New South Wales police picked Kuhn up this past Sunday night and charged him with breaking and entering and two counts of theft. He’s due in court June 1. 

After going public, the incident drew instant comparisons to the 2006 Ben Stiller vehicle Night at the Museum. But lest the hopes of a film deal inspires any potential Kuhn copycats, authorities were quick to dispel the notion.

“It’s not going to be a movie producer knocking on your door,” deputy chief inspector Sean Heaney told the Guardian. “It’s going to be [New South Wales] police knocking on your door.”

Founded in 1827, the Australian Museum is the oldest institution on the continent and among the oldest natural history museums in the world. It has been closed to the public since August of last year for renovations and was scheduled to reopen this spring. The new reopening date has yet to be announced.


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