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Motive unclear: Minerals worth almost nothing were stolen from a college

Someone stole mineral samples from a display case at Macalester College, but police aren’t sure why considering the samples aren’t worth much.

Police responded to the college’s science building Tuesday afternoon after receiving a report that geological samples were missing from a display case, according to the police report.

Apparently someone cut through the Plexiglass on the case (located in the basement of the building), and took “minute samples” of several different minerals, Steve Linders of the St. Paul Police Department told BringMeTheNews.

That includes ruby, topaz, copper, Lake Superior agate, and quartz crystals, Linders says. Barbara Laskin, the media relations manager at Macalester, told BringMeTheNews millimeter-sized pieces of some metals (gold, silver and platinum), a single diamond (you had to magnify it to see it), and a centimeter-sized iron meteorite were also taken.

It’s not clear why the suspect stole the minerals (and the labels for each mineral), because police say the samples have “little to no monetary value.”

“So, unless someone is putting together a killer science project, it is unclear what the motivation for the theft is,” Linders said.

The police report does list the “stolen and recovered property value” as greater than $200.

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