Two charged in heist of ancient Alaska mammoth tusk

This photo from the Bureau of Land Management shows the tusk that was stolen in a March burglary. (From BLM)
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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Two men have been charged in connection with the heist of an ancient woolly mammoth tusk, which was stolen in a break-in burglary of an Anchorage science center.

In federal documents, Martin Elze and Gary Lynn Boyd were charged with property theft and "unauthorized removal of paleontological resources."

Those resources came in the form of a nearly 6-foot-long curved woolly mammoth tusk, an official state fossil belonging to Alaska.

On March 8, employees at the Campbell Creek Science Center, run by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, found a smashed window and discovered that the 100-pound mammoth tusk was missing.

According to prosecutors, a day earlier on March 7, Elze and Boyd were at the CCSC, and asked the staff there about the type and weight of the mammoth tusk.

The next night, prosecutors allege they returned, smashed open a window and let themselves in, hauling the massive mammoth tusk out of the building and driving off with it.

Prosecutors also alleged that the Elze "altered or defaced the mammoth tusk by cutting it." The extent of the damage done to the tusk is not yet known.

In the months following the theft, the Bureau of Land Management's Alaska office took to social media to solicit information about where the tusk might be.

BLM noted that the tusk was valuable to the organization, as well as visitors, saying that generations of schoolchildren and others have viewed the tusk.

BLM offered a $500 reward for information on the tusk. KTUU has reached out to the Bureau to see if that reward money was ever claimed. A BLM spokesman declined to comment beyond the information provided in the indictment.

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