You can’t blame these criminals entirely for their theft of a golden artifact. After all, the museum encouraged them to grab it!
The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West, FL, just had one of its most expensive items stolen — a 16.5-karat, 74.85 oz. gold bar that was recovered from the shipwreck of the Santa Margarita. Museum namesake and treasure hunter Mel Fisher found the item 25 miles off the coast of Key West in 1980, and he immediately knew it needed to be shared with the world.
His desire to have people make a connection with the item inspired the museum to place the bar into a special display case that allowed visitors to touch and lift the treasure. And that’s just what two criminals did. No security guards or museum patrons were around, but a surveillance camera caught the thieves manipulating the bar inside the case until they could finally remove it.
The museum’s insurance company has offered a $10,000 reward for the return of the bar, which is currently valued at $550,000 because of its uniqueness. If the bar is eventually covered, museum officials stress that it will still be a “please touch” exhibit — but with some significant security modifications.