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North Carolina Man Arrested, Accused Of Stealing Meteorites

Man Arrested Stealing Meteorites

One person was arrested in North Carolina and charged with stealing 100 meteorites from a science education center.

Along with the arrest already made, authorities are also searching for a second suspect.

The man, 29-year-old Brian Koontz, was booked into the Transylvania County Jail on charges of breaking and entering, larceny, and injury to personal property, reports ABC News.

The break-in happened at Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute on Christmas Eve. Along with rare meteorites, the thieves also took about 10 large-screen TV monitors, several Blu-Ray players, two overhead video projectors, a microscope, and other scientific instruments.

Video surveillance shows two people breaking into the science education facility. They spent about 45 minutes inside the facility before coming out with their loot.

The Asheville Citizen-Times notes that investigators are also searching for Robin Morris Baldwin Jr., who is believed to be the second person on the surveillance tape.

Officials with the institute have said that the electronic equipment the thieves stole is worth over $100,000. As for the stolen meteorites, there is no way to really put a price on them. They come from three different private collections and were on loan to the institute for display at the time of the theft.

Most, if not all, of the stolen items were discovered at a home where one of the suspects lives. Investigators are working to catalog the items to make sure all of the property, including all of the meteorites, have been recovered. They will meet with PARI officials to make sure nothing is missing.

The meteorites that were stolen are from all over the world. They range from the size of a quarter to as big as a basketball. The research institute expects that some of the electronic equipment and scientific instruments will be damaged and in need of repair or replacement.

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