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Selfie snapper who destroyed historic statue may face criminal charges

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LISBON, Portugal — Is taking a selfie really such a crime?

It may well be if in the process of capturing your magic moment you also manage to destroy a treasured artifact.

Authorities in Lisbon have told CNN they plan to press criminal charges against a 24-year-old Portuguese man who, while climbing onto a 126-year-old statue of King D. Sebastiao, knocked the statue to the ground, breaking it into about a dozen pieces.

According to local police, the man’s weight brought the statue tumbling when he tried to climb it with a camera in hand.

The incident took place on May 3 in downtown Lisbon’s Rossio Station.

Police apprehended the man, who reportedly attempted to flee the scene, but have not released his name.

Infraestruturas de Portugal (the public agency that oversees matters pertaining to Portuguese heritage and culture), says it plans to pursue charges “against the authors of this unfortunate act of destruction of national historical heritage.”

Evaluation of statue ongoing

Infraestruturas de Portugal says it will consider restoring the broken statue or perhaps constructing a new one to take the old statue’s place.

“We are (also) looking into the possibility of using a replica found at the palace of the Counts of Penamacor,” the agency tells CNN.

Opened in 1890, Rossio Station is one of the most iconic and historically significant train stations in Europe.

An ornate structure combining several architectural styles, it’s frequently mentioned in Portuguese literature. Travel + Leisure once named it one of the 14 most beautiful stations in the world.

A legendary figure in Portuguese history, King D. Sebastiao, who reigned from 1557 to 1578, disappeared in battle at age 24.

Soon after, Portugal lost its independence to Spain.

Popular legend says Sebastiao will one day return on a foggy morning, riding a white horse.