YREKA, Calif. (CN) – Thieves took historical gold nuggets, gold dust and jewelry from the Siskiyou County Courthouse early Wednesday morning, the nearby Redding Record-Searchlight reported.
The pieces missing from the vaulted display inside the main courthouse entrance still have to be inventoried, but the entire collection is worth $3 million, the paper reported.
The surveillance video, which soon will be released to the public to aid in indentifying the thieves, shows that two men had broken into the courthouse around 1:00 a.m.
The collection, which reflects Siskiyou County’s gold rush history, is made up of pieces the county purchased over the years with county funds or that had been donated by local residents, Claudia East, vice president of the Siskiyou County Historical Society board of directors, told the Record-Searchlight. East told the paper that the gold was selected not just because of its size but because of its colors and shapes, all of which came from Siskiyou County.
The prize of the collection, which was exhibited at the 1939 San Francisco World’s Fair, is “The Slipper,” a 28-ounce, shoe-shaped nugget found in the Scott River in 1912, reported the paper.
How the thieves were able to access the vault and bypass the alarm system remains under investigation by authorities who fear the collection may be melted down, making it impossible to recover the historical community treasure, the paper said.