FRANKLIN, N.J. — Employees at the Franklin Mineral Museum arrived Monday morning to find shattered glass, a blood trail and $30,000 in rare minerals and jewels missing.
“When I got word of this, I was heartbroken," said Mark Boyer, the museum's president.
Photos show the thieves smashed glass cases to steal the stones. Police believe burglars jumped a barbed wire fence, leaned a ladder against the building and repelled into the museum through a skylight or window.
“The one exhibit that was compromised was a favorite of our visitors so it hurts us," said Boyer.
But Franklin Police have some hard evidence to work with - drops of blood all over the museum floor.
“At some point of entry or while he was taking the items he was injured," said Franklin Det. Sgt. Nevin Mattessich.
The museum alarm did go off at around 4:40 a.m. Monday. Police responded and walked the perimeter of the building.
“There was no way for an officer to see that someone had climbed over a barbed wired fence and made entry through virtually the ceiling," said Sgt. Mattessich.
The museum staff is hoping to reopen by this weekend.
The museum sits on the site of a world famous zinc mine. By the 1950s, the Franklin mine was near the end of its life. The mine was known in particular for its abundance of fluorescent stone and rare minerals. There are mineral species in the ground in Franklin and nearby Ogdensburg that are found no where else on earth, according to the museum.
In 1959, a group of mineral collectors formed the Franklin-Ogdensburg Mineralogical Society (FOMS), which still has active membership today.
“It’s very special to the long-time residents here, so obviously we’re going to do everything we can to try to find out who did this," said Sgt. Mattessich.
Anyone with information is asked to call Franklin Police.