Thieves Steal Massive Meteorite Worth $12,000 From Australian Museum

Whole meteorites are extremely rare, because they rocks tend to fragment on impact. Photo: meteorites.com.au

Police in Queensland, Australia, are investigating the theft of a rare meteorite following a break and enter at a museum in the town of Atherton, ABC reports.

Two men reportedly smashed a window to gain access to Atherton’s Crystal Caves museum in the early hours of Monday morning and stole the soccer-ball sized rock, weighing 11 kilograms, which has a market value of $12,000 (see Meteorites and Fossils at Out of This World Auctionata Sale).

According to museum owner Ghis Gallo, the meteorite was found close to Wolfe Creek in western Australia in the 1970s.

The meteorite was sourced from Wolfe Creek, site of the famous Wolf Creek meteorite crater. Photo: Australian Geographic

The meteorite was sourced from Wolfe Creek, site of the famous Wolfe Creek meteorite crater.
Photo: via Australian Geographic

“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,” Gallo told the Brisbane Times“And then it was going to go into a purpose-built exhibit in the museum,” she lamented.

Gallo explained that whole meteorites are extremely rare because in most cases the space rocks fragment upon impact (see Meteorite Sculpture Will Be International Space Station’s First Artwork).

“This isn’t like jewelry or a diamond ring, this is one of a kind,” she said, adding that the thieves targeted the rare artifact and “went straight for it.”

She also revealed that CCTV footage showed drunk pedestrians taking selfies in front of the the smashed shop windows instead of calling the police.

Queensland police released this image of one of the perpetrators. Photo: Queensland Police via Brisbane Times

Queensland police released this image of one of the perpetrators.
Photo: Queensland Police via Brisbane Times

Queensland police released images of the suspected burglars and called on any witnesses to come forward.


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