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Siskiyou County values stolen gold nuggets at $1.26 million

June 12, 2012 |  2:24 pm

Siskiyou County officials have valued the county-owned gold that was snatched from a courthouse display case earlier this year at $1.26 million.

According to the Siskiyou Daily Journal, a gemologist examined photos of the large chunks of precious metal to determine their size and nature. A value then was calculated by analyzing smaller pieces of gold that the burglars left behind.

Siskiyou County Administrator Brian McDermott said the county has submitted a claim to its insurance carrier and expects reimbursement.

The heist occurred during a Feb. 1 break-in at the courthouse in Yreka, the county seat.  The collection of nuggets was one of the last remnants of the Northern California county's little-known Gold Rush days.

Founded after gold was discovered there in 1851, Siskiyou County came to be known as "the second Mother Lode," local historian Claudia East said. "But a lot of times, we're just kind of left out."

Officials said the thieves probably entered the building through a back window and rifled through a few offices before smashing the thick glass on the gold display. An alarm on the case did not sound, sheriff’s officials said. The remainder of the gold is being stored in an undisclosed location as county officials determine how to keep it safe.

The gold was donated over the decades and included samples from mines throughout the county. It had been displayed at the World's Fair at San Francisco in 1939.


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