CHP requests public’s assistance in catching the suspects –
Thieves made off with approximately $2 million worth of precious minerals during a daring daytime robbery on Friday, Sept. 28, at the California State Mining and Mineral Museum at the Mariposa Fairgrounds.
At about 4 p.m., at least two individuals entered the museum and made verbal threats to employees, according to the California Highway Patrol who is investigating the crime. The CHP is engaged in a wide-spread search for multiple suspects.The Mariposa Gazette reports that the original call stated the thieves were wielding a pick-axe. They also say that two women who were inside the museum at the time, told them the robbers were completely covered in black clothing and were wearing what they believed to be night vision goggles.
The California State Mining and Mineral Museum houses the official mineral collection of the state of California, with over 13,000 objects. Along with mining artifacts, the collection includes valuable gem and mineral specimens, and rare crystalline gold.
The crowning jewel of the museum, the “Fricot Nugget”, was not taken, according to KFSN-TV Channel 30 in Fresno. They report that the robbers were unable to break the case in which the 13.8-pound chunk of crystallized gold is housed.
The CHP says it may be difficult for the suspects to sell the kind of items reportedly taken, as it is uncommon for most citizens to possess such minerals. This may draw suspicion from anyone being approached, and those concerned are urged to call the CHP immediately.
The investigation is ongoing, and the CHP is declining additional comment at this time. We will provide updates as they come in.
The CHP Central Division Investigative Services Unit (ISU), is handling the investigation with the assistance of the Mariposa CHP area office, California State Parks, the California Department of Justice and the Mariposa Sheriff’s Department. The CHP has jurisdiction for all crimes that occur on California State property.
Anyone with information regarding the theft is urged to call the CHP Central Division ISU at 209-356-2900.