Suspects steal gold from Columbia's museum

Gold thieves broke into the Columbia State Historic Park museum in the historic mining town on Wednesday and stole about $1,000 worth of the precious metal.

Superintendent of State Parks Garry Olson said that between midnight and 8 a.m., burglars cut the lock off a deadbolt securing the museum’s front door.

The museum’s burglary alarm failed and the suspects smashed a display case and took 0.75 ounces of gold flakes and pieces and several historic artifacts.

Olson said the shattered case costs between $300 and $500 to replace. With little money in the state’s budget for parks, Olson said it could be up to a year before it’s replaced and its contents available for viewing.

He said about 7,000 fourth-graders visit the museum each year to learn about California history and the Gold Rush.

Olson said there has been a rash of break-ins and robberies in the 160-year-old town this year.