North Carolina authorities are seeking the identity of two dinosaur thieves. On Monday, the young couple stole artifacts from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the North Carolina Museum of Natural History. Authorities said the relics are worth more than $11,000.
Police have not identified the suspects. However, the couple is believed to be in their early 20s. The dinosaur thieves were recorded on a surveillance video, which was provided by the Museum of Natural History.
In the video, the couple can be seen waiting until they are alone in the prehistoric exhibit. The male then climbs into the display area, grabs a tiny dinosaur, and drops it into the woman’s purse.
The male and female suspects are both approximately 5’7″ tall. The male suspect has short brown hair and the female has longer dark brown hair. At the time of the thefts, the male was wearing striped shorts, a dark t-shirt, and black and white shoes. The female suspect was wearing dark shorts, a pink shirt, and short boots.
As reported by AOL, the stolen dinosaur is actually a replica of an Edmontosaurus hatchling. Although it is not an actual dinosaur, the polymer resin model is worth nearly $10,000. According to reports, the newborn dinosaur replica is just over one foot long.
The Edomntosaurus, or “Edmonton Lizard,” was discovered by Lawrence Lambe in 1917. It is estimated that the large, slow-moving dinosaurs walked the earth approximately 70 million years ago — during the Creraceous period.
As discussed by Enchanted Learning, Edmontosaurus fossils, including at least one hatchling, have been found throughout western North America. Although the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences does not display an actual hatchling, the polymer resin model was created with a cast of the original fossils.
Following their trip to the Museum of Natural Sciences, the dinosaur thieves moved on to the Museum of Natural History — where they stole an artifact valued at $1,000.
It is unclear what prompted the couple to steal the artifacts. However, genuine artifacts are notoriously difficult to sell — as they are often stolen. Without further information, it is impossible to know the thieves’ motive.
Neither museum has provided comment about the thefts. However, authorities said their investigation is ongoing. They hope the artifacts will be located and returned to the museums undamaged.
Anyone with information about the artifacts or the identity of the dinosaur thieves is urged to contact the state State Capitol Police at 919-733-3333.
[Images via David Bonadonna and Gannett]