Man breaks into National Civil Rights Museum, goes to sleep

Dexter Anderson apparently decided he wanted to sleep in a bed Tuesday night, so he took advantage of one he found.

Unfortunately for the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn., that bed was in one of the exhibits devoted to the final hours of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

According to Memphis police, Anderson heaved rocks through the second-floor windows of the two rooms that are preserved today much as King left them that fateful night. Around midnight, he then climbed in and went to sleep in one of the beds, police said.

An alert security guard quickly notified police, who soon rousted Anderson and took him into custody. Anderson, 33, has been charged with criminal trespass and vandalism. He is being held at the Shelby County Jail.

Museum spokesman Faith Morris said the incident left some damage that will cause a temporary closure of that part of the facility.

“We had a break-in at around midnight. The vandal was apprehended, but he did leave some damage to one of the King rooms,” she said.

“For public safety, we're going to close off that area. Entrance to the King room will be delayed while we secure the area. We’ll resume (Thursday).”

On his last night at what was then the Lorraine Motel, King occupied rooms 306 and 307 while others in his party used room 308. Today, rooms 306 and 308 stand preserved, while what was 307 is now a hallway where visitors can view the rooms.

Morris said the broken glass was in the hallway and room 308. According to police, Anderson sacked out on the bed in 308. Morris said he didn’t damage anything other than the glass.

Anderson has previous arrests for theft, burglary and trespass.

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