By GARRETT NEESE
ALLOUEZ - Close to $30,000 of rock specimens are missing from a local rock and gem shop.
Daily Mining Gazette
Alex Fagotti, owner of Prospector’s Paradise, walks through displays at his shop Monday. About $30,000 worth of specimens were taken from the shop Thursday night.
Daily Mining Gazette
This display at Prospector’s Paradise shows space where specimens were taken Thursday night. Subjects removed a door to the building Thursday and stole about $30,000 worth of rocks and minerals.
Alex Fagotti, owner of Prospector's Paradise near Allouez, said the items were stolen sometime Thursday night.
The suspects took datolite, copper, agates, a 16-inch smoky quartz crystal and a 2-foot piece of petrified wood with yellows in it. Some were from the White Pine Mine, including "one-dimensional" black copper crystals that are more than a foot long.
"They were cherrypicking it," he said. "They knew what they were looking for. They'd been in here before."
The suspects had also turned a security camera covering the floor upwards before the burglary, Fagotti said. But they either failed to notice or couldn't get to another one higher up. The Michigan State Police is analyzing the footage.
That's not the only evidence they recovered.
"It was raining that night and there were muddy fingerprints all over the damn place," Fagotti said.
MSP Calumet Post Trooper Matt Djerf said the case is still being investigated.
The missing pieces all come from the front portion of the shop. The back, which has the rarer specimens, was untouched.
"There's a lot of those up there that are one of a kind," he said.
"If they would have taken that, I'd be out of business. But they just wanted something they could sell fast."
This wasn't the first time Fagotti's shop was burglarized, he said. Wednesday night, someone took buckets of copper he had left out for cleaning.
In response, he sat in a tree overlooking the shop until 11 p.m. Thursday night waiting for the culprits to strike again.
When he came in Friday morning, the door and its frame had been pulled out.
People have also walked out with individual silver crystals, but nothing on this level, Fagotti said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Michigan State Police Calumet Post at 337-5145.
"I want to catch them, not to see anybody in jail, but just to say 'What the hell are you doing this for? You shouldn't be doing this,'" Fagotti said.