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.

Next Up

Ian Cole

Wild trade Greg Pateryn to Avalanche for Ian Cole

Cole won a pair of Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh and is a former first-round pick.


St. Croix County GOP chair resigns after incendiary post on official website

John Kraft sparked controversy with his 'Prepare for War' post on the party website earlier this month.

ann kim

Ann Kim's new restaurant, Sooki & Mimi, to open in February

The James Beard Award winner is the brains behind Young Joni, Pizzeria Lola, and Hello Pizza.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 1.32.19 PM

Firefighters rescue worker after trench fall in Rochester

The construction worker fell about 15 feet.

gray wolf

Grand Marais mayor's dog survives attack by wolves

He heard his 65-pound dog "screaming bloody murder" and then saw the wolves chasing her.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 12.04.55 PM

Minnesota's COVID vaccine appointment site goes live

Huge demand was expected when the site went live at noon.

emily ford

Duluth woman is hiking 1,000-plus miles on the Ice Age Trail this winter

She could be the second person ever to finish a winter-thru hike of the Wisconsin trail.

coronavirus, covid-19, icu

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 19

Two days in a row with fewer than 1,000 new cases.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 10.52.12 AM

After fire destroyed their house, couple forced to euthanize beloved dog

The couple's daughter has launched a fundraiser for her parents.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 10.16.14 AM

Investigation after teacher accused of lewd act during distance learning

No charges have been filed yet and the staff member has not been identified.


$200,000 worth of construction equipment stolen in Minn. found in Wis.

Police in Barron County, Wis. says they found $200,000 worth of trailers and equipment at several properties in the area. Keith Duffee, of Turtle Lake, Wis., is wanted for questioning in the case.

Landowners fight to stop state from selling mineral rights out from under them

Some people in northern Minnesota are finding that while they own their homes and land, they don't necessarily own the minerals below. Now they're trying to stop state officials from giving mining companies the rights to drill on their property. The state routinely sells land while holding on to the mineral rights. Leasing those rights can bring the state tens of millions of dollars a year.

CEO of Miner's Inc. dies at age 77

Jim Miner Sr., the CEO of Hermantown-based Miner's Inc., died on Sunday. He was 77 years old. His funeral will be held on Thursday at Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Duluth.