PORTLAND – A meteorite expert is hoping to get a box full of rare space rocks back after it was stolen from his truck.
“I’ve been looking at meteorites and meteor-wrongs for a half a century,” said Dick Pugh, who works with the Cascadian Meteorite Laboratory at Portland State University.
On May 1, Pugh left a black box of 10 small meteorites along with a notebook he uses to log meteorite reports in the back of his truck in North Portland.
Pugh locked the truck’s doors, but left the windows down. When he came back to his truck, the box of meteorites had been taken.
Then, he found out that someone tried to sell the rocks at Ed’s House of Gems on Northeast Sandy Boulevard.
Ed’s wouldn’t buy the rocks but the suspect is still at large.
Pugh said meteorites are very rare. Oregon has uncovered just six full meteorites in its history.
“There’s one on every square mile on the earth’s surface, if you can find it,” he said. But because Oregon is covered with lava rock and trees, it’s nearly impossible to find them.
“I get about two phone calls a day from people who think they have a meteorite,” Pugh said. “I’m the one that gets to tell them they don’t.”
The samples in the stolen box are worth around $1,500, but Pugh said the meteorites and the notebook are worth more to him than just money.
“I’ve had some of those rocks for more than 50 years, and I hate to see them go,” he said.
Pugh said he’s offering a reward – no questions asked – in exchange for the meteorites and notebook.
“It’s the first time in 50 years I lost a rock,” he said.
KGW Reporter Mark Hanrahan contributed to this report.