Gold worth up to $2 million was stolen from the California State Mining and Mineral Museum this past Friday. The robbery took place in broad daylight, at approximately 4 p.m. Robbers armed with pickaxes wore face masks and night goggles as they forced the museum employees into one area of the building. The museum was home to the Fricot Nugget, a chuck of crystalline gold that weighed 14 pounds and was the largest of its kind to come out of the Gold Rush. This famous piece was what the robbers endeavored to get at, but the iron safe and vault were able to protect it. The alarms went off and the doors began to close automatically, but they were able to escape being trapped.
Even though they were not able to make away with the Fricot Nugget, they were able to steal millions in gold and other precious gems. In order to discover exactly what is missing, officials have moved what was stored in the museum to another location to take an inventory. If the thieves are apprehended and charged with this crime, they could be facing extremely harsh penalties due to the value of the goods stolen.
Under California law, the penalties for theft differ depending on the amount that was taken. California Penal Code §§484-502.9 (2011), provides information regarding this type of offense. Larceny is defined as taking the property of another without permission. Theft is divided into two categories, grand theft and petty theft. Grand theft is stealing property that exceeds $950. As in this case the value of the goods is much greater, the robbers could be found guilty of grand theft. Petty theft is stealing goods valued below $950. For more information on theft crimes or to discuss your case with our team, please contact Martinian & Associates today.