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14 November, 2020

Meteorite finds its way home.

A 4 billion-year-old meteorite, which was stolen 5 years ago has been found by police in Cairns and returned to its owners.

By Phil Brandel

Crystal Caves manager Celilia Boissevain with the 4 billion year old meteorite.

A 4 billion year-old meteorite, which was stolen 5 years ago has been found by police in Cairns and returned to its owners.

The 11-kilogram space rock was originally discovered in the Wolfe Creek Crater in Western Australia in 1973 by Stuart Foster. The meteorite was donated to the Crystal Caves museum at Atherton in 2015 and two weeks later it was stolen.

Ms Ghislaine Gallo, who manages the Crystal Caves in Atherton with her sister Celilia Boissevain said the thief knew what they were looking for “Someone smashed the bottom window in the middle of the night, crawled through grabbed the rock and left,” she said.

“It’s not something that you can easily move like gold or jewellery,” 

On Saturday November 7, Queensland Police executed a search warrant at a Cairns address and recovered the space rock, valued at more than $16,000, investigations are underway into the incident and no charges have been laid.

Ms Gallo said she was surprised when a police officer called her.

"He said, 'We've got your meteorite', and I just went, 'Yeah, I don't think so, I find that a bit hard to believe', and he went, 'Yeah, it's definitely your meteorite'," she said.

“The police are being a bit tight-lipped as to how they knew the rock was there but they did tell me it was search warrant specifically for that meteorite,”

On November 12 Cairns police announced that they had charged a man “Cairns detectives have charged a man after locating a missing meteorite during the search of a Mooroobool property earlier this month,” a police spokesperson said.

“Investigations led officers to search the Mooroobool property on Saturday, November 7, where they located the missing meteorite.

“He has since been charged with receiving tainted property and is due to appear in Cairns Magistrates Court on November 25.”

Ms Gallo said there was evidence that the meteorite had been "hacked into" as several small pieces of the rock were missing

“They have wedged a couple of piece out of it, maybe they thought they could sell smaller pieces,” she said.

“It’s also covered in mud so we need to give it a good wash.”

Ms Gallo said she would display the meteorite again, but this time she would secure it more thoroughly.

“We are now going to put it behind some very safe glass with all the media exposure it has received."

Crystal Caves manager Celilia Boissevain with the 4 billion-year-old meteorite. 

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