Thursday, 5 August 2010

NZ Museum Theft

Museum staff at the Otago Museum are said to be "shocked" by a 'brazen theft' that occurred there on Tuesday ( Debbie Porteous, Theft of dinosaur egg shocks museum staff, Thu, 5 Aug 2010). A fossilised egg of a Cretaceous hadrosaur dinosaur was taken in what is believed to have been a premeditated walk-in theft captured on the museum's security cameras. Museum development and planning director Clare Wilson said: "when someone steals from a public institution it's not just one person affected. Really, they are stealing from the whole community". she said.

The fossil was taken not however from the museum's exhibits or research stores, but the museum shop. It was on sale there for 1700 dollars. The object had been collected "in the Henan province in China and sold to the museum by a Nelson fossil supplier". One assumes though that the export licence that would have accompanied any legal export of such an item from China was not taken from the shop display, making it impossible for the thief to sell it to an ethical dealer or collector. A senseless theft then?

See also Cahal Milmo Fossil rustling a 'huge international problem', says palaeontologist', New Zealand Herald, Nov 25 2009.

original heads-up from MSN.

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