Upper East Side & Roosevelt Island

Crime & Mayhem

Vandal Scrawls 'Nazi Art' on Student Painting at Met Museum, Police Say

April 21, 2017 11:39am | Updated April 24, 2017 8:49am
Ryan Watson, 33, was arrested for vandalizing a student's artwork at the Met Museum on Wednesday, police said.
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DNAinfo/Amy Zimmer

UPPER EAST SIDE — A vandal was arrested for scrawling the words "Nazi artwork" on a painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, police said.

Ryan Watson, 33, took a blue pen to the student painting in the museum's education center and wrote, "Nazi artwork" and "Not slaves" at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, police said.

When a museum guard tried to stop him, Watson yelled, "go back to your country," authorities said.

Police charged him with criminal mischief and possession of a graffiti instrument, though the incident is not being treated as a hate crime, the NYPD said.

Watson hadn't been arraigned as of Friday morning, the Manhattan District Attorney's office said.

"The Met is reaching out to the student and will make every effort to restore the work of art, which was on view as part of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards," a Met spokeswoman said in a statement. "The Met is grateful for the quick and effective action taken by security officers and the NYPD on this unfortunate incident."

The incident marks at least the second time this year that a museum visitor has been arrested.

On March 3, Brandon Aebersold, 33, clobbered a guard with a glass bottle and yelled, "Do your job, n----r," according to authorities. He was charged with a hate crime in the attack.