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Thief breaks into Ore. mineral museum, makes off with gold on display

A burglary suspect is shown on surveillance camera footage at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals in Hillsboro, Ore., on Christmas Eve. The museum reported numerous gold items were stolen. Photo courtesy Washington County, Ore., Sheriff's Dept./Facebook
1 of 2 | A burglary suspect is shown on surveillance camera footage at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals in Hillsboro, Ore., on Christmas Eve. The museum reported numerous gold items were stolen. Photo courtesy Washington County, Ore., Sheriff's Dept./Facebook

Dec. 25 (UPI) -- A burglar broke into a natural history museum near Portland, Ore., shattered a display case and made off "numerous" items containing gold on Christmas Eve, local authorities say.

Sheriff's officials in Washington County, Ore., said a suspect who appeared to be an average-built, adult white male wearing jeans and a jacket broke into the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals in Hillsboro, Ore., early on Sunday.

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After gaining entry to the building via a broken window, the man shattered the glass covering a large display and scooped up "numerous gold items," the sheriff's office said in a release.

Authorities found footprints leading away from the crime scene and carried out a search of the surrounding area using canine trackers, but the effort was unsuccessful, they said.

The value of the gold items stolen was not released.

The Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, located about 15 miles northwest of Portland, was founded in 1952 by local couple Richard and Helen Rice, who turned their uniquely designed home into a showcase for their extensive rock and mineral collection, according to the museum's website.

Since opening to the public in the 1990s, all of the rooms in the original house have been converted to galleries while the garage is now a gift shop.

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