In the wake of the threatened California State Park closures last summer, comes the heist of $2 million worth of gold, silver, and precious stones from the California State Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa County on Friday.
The $54 million hidden fund which prompted the Parks & Recreation Director to quit, and which was reported at Examiner
earlier, may not have had a direct affect on lack of security at the museum. It is possible though, that reduced staffing levels had a marginal impact on the results of the heist.
The two armed men who stole the precious metals and stones were reported to have threatened the staff, grabbed the loot and left in a hurry. The precise worth of the stolen minerals is unknown at this time, and a thorough inventory of what is left at the museum must be made before the total heist can be tallied stated the deputy director for communications Roy Stearns at the Merced Sun-Star
Fortunately, the largest gold specimen at the museum was not stolen. The 201 Troy oz. Fricot Nugget
was left behind by the robbers. Weighing in at 13.8 Troy pounds, the thieves may have made a rational choice to leave it behind.
The Fricot nugget however, isn’t actually a nugget but one of the largest pieces of crystal lattice gold ever found.
Some of the pieces stolen are fist sized chunks of gold and will be very difficult to sell, even on the black market for stolen goods. The collection at the museum in Mariposa was moved to the current site in 1983, from its original site in San Francisco, where it had been since 1881.
A call placed to the museum today asking for details regarding the security which would seem to have been a good idea for such a collection, was not returned as of Monday evening.