Employees at a southern Alberta mining company were left stunned this week, after a rare ammonite fossil was stolen.
Not only does the company want the fossil returned, but they’re also calling on law enforcement for additional help.
“When the guys were walking away to go for lunch, a guy had dropped down a 40-foot cliff… he grabbed one of the fossils we had and took off running and crossed the steep embankment back down to the river and crossed the river onto the reservation,” Enchanted Designs Mine Manager Michael Shideler said.
In an effort to retrieve the fossil, workers followed the thief, but said they had to back off after being threatened with a pickaxe.
This isn’t the first time the enchanted designs mine has been targeted by thieves. but it is one of its more expensive losses.
“It could range from $40,000 to $100,000 U.S. depending on the colour and the full fossil.”
“It was kind of disheartening because it was a full fossil that we had found… and that’s what they ended up taking,” Shideler said.
RCMP told Global News, they have identified a suspect, and charges are expected to be laid Monday.
While police hope to retrieve the stolen item, there is a good chance it could be long gone. However, according to Shideler, selling the rare, prehistoric gem is not so simple.
“They have to have a permit in place to be able to sell the fossil, so our company goes through a lot of work to get the proper permitting from the government of Alberta to be able to mine and sell these fossils,” Shideler said.
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In the meantime, he is asking for more help from police to stop what he called a growing problem.
“We’re hoping Blood Tribe police can help us out a little more on this, especially with the expense and the cost that these fossils are worth,” Shideler said.