If you’ve purchased an item online from around the world, you may be familiar with the customs charges sometimes involved. But one business owner was left frustrated after one of his intricate sculptures was destroyed on its way to the buyer—he believes by customs workers looking for drugs.

In a now-viral Reddit post, Adam, who is from Poland, shared the picture of a destroyed sculpture on the popular subreddit r/mildlyinfuriating with the caption: “Customs office destroyed my sculpture someone bought from me because they wanted to check if I didn’t hide drugs inside.” With over 81,000 upvotes, the post has gained the attention of sympathetic Redditors, many with their own stories of items destroyed in transit.

“I got that photo from the person based in the U.S. who bought it from me,” Adam told Newsweek: “Because I love The Witcher books and games, I wanted something connected to it. The sculpture is Place of Power from the game.”

He says that his sculptures are made with clay and bubble wrapped for shipping, so there is no way the damage could have happened naturally.

“According to the customer, there was nothing inside, no note, nothing,” said Adam: “When he sent me the picture I didn’t know how to reply.”

Adam said neither he nor the buyer had complained to U.S. Customs, however. He said the buyer was “the kind of guy that was just fed up with it”, while Adam chose to post on Reddit rather than complain.

Asked why he was so sure Customs was responsible, he said: “The box was untouched, not even a scratch. I can assure you that it’s hard to break, it was 100 percent intentional.”

He also shared Fedex tracking details with Newsweek showing the package took 11 days to clear import checks at Fort Worth, Texas, airport.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) undertake checks on items entering the country to ensure all goods are legal. When border control suspects a package may contain contraband items – like drugs, certain foods, or animals – they will inspect the item which can result in damage.

As there was no note, there is no firm evidence in this case that Customs was responsible. Newsweek has contacted U.S. Customs and Border Protection for comment.

Adam wrote to his customer telling them he would make and send a new sculpture – this time insured to prevent losing any more money.

“I wanted to know why something like that happened and how to prevent such incidents in the future,” said Adam: “That’s why I posted it, I needed some answers and wanted to know other people’s stories.”

The CBP has an official system to make a claim for property damage or loss. By submitting an SF-95 (Standard Form 95), the CBP will investigate the facts and examine the legal basis for a claim.

Reddit users sympathized with Adam, with one comment that said: “This reminds me of when I bought a pair of Timberland hiking boots. I received the package and customs cut open the tongue and included a note saying it had been inspected,” another user wrote: “Where’s the mild about this. This is extremely infuriating.”

Another commenter joked: “It’s a shame there isn’t some sort of technology, perhaps a ray of some kind, that can allow us to see inside of things.”

But the viral reaction to the post has proven a positive among the frustration for Adam: “So many people saw my post, so many people sent me their support—it just felt unreal.

“Every cloud’s got a silver lining I guess.”

Sculpture destroyed in mail
A picture of the intact sculpture, left, and a picture of how the sculpture arrived with the customer, right. The sculpture by Polish artist Adam was allegedly destroyed during border checks coming into the U.S.

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