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$2 million in gems, gold stolen from Central California museum

  • In this 2009 photo provided by the California State Parks, the California State Mining and Mineral Museum is shown in Mariposa, Calif. Authorities say thieves made off with an estimated $2 million in gold and precious gems during the armed robbery of a state mineral and mining museum Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 in the Central Valley. (AP Photo/California State Parks, John Palmer)

MARIPOSA — California investigators searched Monday for thieves who made off with an estimated $2 million in precious gems and gold from a Central Valley museum during a brazen daytime robbery.

But they didn't get away with the biggest prize of all — the nearly 14-pound Fricot Nugget, a giant crystalline gold mass unearthed in the Gold Rush era.

During their attempt to grab the rock, the robbers triggered an alarm that alerted authorities who swarmed the museum but were unable to nab the thieves.

At least two robbers wearing hoods and armed with pickaxes threatened workers during the heist Friday at the California Mining and Minerals Museum in Mariposa, the California Highway Patrol said.

No suspects have been identified.


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