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Stolen $30k mineral returned to Nevada mine museum

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RENO, Nev. (AP) — A valuable mineral specimen stolen from a mining museum at the University of Nevada has been returned anonymously.

Campus police Commander Todd Renwick said the mineral with crystals worth an estimated $30,000 was dropped off sometime Saturday on the steps in front of the Keck Museum.

Renwick said it was placed inside a crate in a plastic bag and didn't appear to be damaged. The mineral weighed 25 to 30 pounds. It disappeared from a museum display April 8. An investigation into the theft continues.

"We're going to see if the plastic bag or the crate provides any information that we can use," Renwick told the Reno Gazette-Journal (http://tinyurl.com/cow2kne ) on Tuesday. "That could be fingerprints or DNA. We're also going to check different perimeter cameras around the building to see if we can identify the person who brought it."

Renwick said the media attention surrounding the stolen stibnite and photographs of the missing specimen probably made it too difficult for the thief to sell.

"I'm sure that put some pressure on whoever took it," he said.

The mineral is prized by collectors because of its long slender bladed crystals with a brilliant gray and black metallic luster. It's not especially rare but the specimen was unusually large, said Daphne LaPointe, interim director of the museum.

"You usually don't get massive amounts of it in one place," she said. "It's also a historical piece."

Secret Witness is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person or people who stole the mineral. Anyone with information is asked to call UNR Police Services 775-784-4013 or Secret Witness at 775-322-4900.

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Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, http://www.rgj.com

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