Two thieves in Australia have move beyond filching the usual fare–jewelry, electronics, or just cold, hard cash. They’ve raised the bar when it comes to stolen items, lifting a soccer ball-sized meteorite from a museum, worth $16,000.
The pricey rock was stolen from the Crystal Caves Museum in Queensland, the Brisbane Times reported. And they picked a very opportune time to do it. It was donated last month, said owner Ghis Gallo.
“Because we had just acquired it our thoughts were that we’d have it in our shop for about a month where people could just see it, touch it, pick it up and experience it freely. And then it was going to go into a purpose-built exhibit.”
The $16,000 meteorite had belonged to a family friend. It was discovered in Western Australia in the 1970s. It weighed almost 25 pounds and was extremely rare because it was intact. Most meteorites are found in pieces.
It was pilfered about midnight on Monday, ABC News added. Security footage shows one of the criminals outside, guarding the entrance, while his accomplice breaks a glass panel, and makes a beeline for the $16,000 meteorite.
That tells Gallo that the thieves knew exactly that they wanted.
“They went straight for it … (It) is one of a kind.”
Images of the two purported thieves have been released to the public, the Courier Mail reported. In an odd side note, security cameras also captured footage of some intoxicated passersby taking selfies in front of the smashed museum window, none of whom bothered to call police.
This is the second time robbers have stolen such a rare item. In late May, four men in Argentina were nabbed smuggling 200 large shards hidden throughout their truck, the BBC added. They were stopped randomly.
Authorities believe they pinched the rocks from a meteorite-rich area in Argentina called “Field of Heaven.”
The Argentinean haul, which was thankfully foiled, proves that crooks have noticed the value of these unusual rare items. Though $16,000 may seem like a hefty price tag for a space rock, the 200 pieces stolen last month were worth a whopping $750,000. The going rate on the market is $.50 per gram, Weather Network reported.
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