Smash And Grab Heist At Mariposa Mining & Mineral Museum

The{}CHP and sheriff's deputies are hot on the heels of two men who went on a smash and grab rampage at the Mariposa Museum. That word from Mariposa County Supervisor Kevin Cann who represents the area.

Mariposa didn't look anything like the sleepy tourist community locals are used to seeing. Deputies were toting powerful weapons as they tried to track down two men dressed as ninjas who ransacked the Mining and Mineral Museum Friday afternoon.

Jill Ballinger is the editor of the Mariposa Gazette newspaper. "There are a lot of ins and outs at the fairgrounds. The elevation changes a lot. Lots of hiding places and{}I think they were really trying to find whoever was responsible and keep the public out of danger."

The state museum is still doing an inventory of what it lost. The thieves used pick axes to break open displays. Museum{}Association President Ron Iudice{}is confident they got away with some gold. "The gold is crystal in form and its worth up to fifty times what melted down gold would be worth."

Mariposa resident C.J. Petretti says a crime of this magnitude just doesn't happen in the high country. "These are things in the history of this town and they should stay preserved and protected. We shouldn't have to worry about it."

Two women were inside the museum during the heist. They weren't harmed. Jill Ballinger says one greedy crook almost got stuck when he walked into the safe. "As the vault door tried to close which it does automatically my understanding, the man tried to get out. And one of them hit it with his shoulder and then kind of tumbled on the museum floor."

The{}CHP is the lead agency in the investigation because it's a state museum. The museum has contacted mineral dealers that the thieves may try to peddle the goods{}in a hurry.