Space Rock Crooks Strike Dinosaur Place

A meteorite survived a plummet to Earth, but not a theft

Someone made a pretty brazen move when they pilfered a 30-pound chunk of nickel and iron from outer space.

The rather bulky meteorite, about the size of a cantaloupe, was stolen from the gift shop at Dinosaur Place in Montville.

"State Police were quite surprised. They said, 'You lost a what?" recalls Dinosaur Place owner Roger Phillips, who called Connecticut State Police Monday to report the meteorite stolen.

Phillips says a worker last saw the $2,200 hunk of rock on Thursday.

"When she came to work Saturday, she came over to congratulate me on the sale," said Phillips. "Because it was gone, she assumed that someone had bought it during her absence."

But Phillips thinks a customer swiped it for a private collection. That person could have walked off with it during business hours because there was no sign of a break-in, Phillips said.

"Something like this is unusual because of its weight," Roger Phillips. "Of course, we wonder, how did they get it out of the store?"

That's what other Dinosaur Place visitors were wondering Tuesday afternoon.

"I don't know what an adult would do with it," said Sarah Simon, who was visiting the nature center from Pennsylvania.

The meteorite was valuable because it was made of nickel and iron. More common meteorites are made of stone.

When asked if he think he'll get the meteorite back, Phillips said, "Honestly, probably not."

But others think that something as unusual as a piece of outer space, won't stay secret for long.

"Something like that will probably show up with time," said nature center visitor Bill Greeley. "It's too much for one person to keep to themselves."

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