Paris man chainsawed elephant tusk off museum piece

Paris man chainsawed elephant tusk off museum piece

Jacques Cuisin of the Natural History museum speaks in front of the elephant skeleton whose tusk was chopped off by a thief, at the Natural History museum in Paris on March 30, 2013. A young man was arrested by the police on the night of 29-30 March after attempting to steal the tusks of an elephant having belonged to Louis XIV by using a chainsaw to chop them off, according to the Higher Education and Research Ministry. AFP PHOTO/ JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

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AP

Posted on March 31, 2013 at 2:35 PM

PARIS (AP) -- Authorities say a man has been arrested overnight for allegedly breaking into Paris' Museum of Natural History and cutting off a tusk from a centuries-old elephant skeleton with a chainsaw.

A police official said a neighbor of the Left Bank museum alerted authorities after hearing the sawing sound at around 3 a.m. Saturday.

The suspect, about 20 years old, had the tusk in his possession when police arrested him soon afterward outside the museum. Paris prosecutors' office spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre said the motive of the suspect wasn't immediately clear.

Museum official Jacques Cuisin told BFM-TV that the skeleton, which was draped under a plastic covering Saturday, belonged to an elephant that Portugal's king gave to French King Louis XIV in the late 17th century. Cuisin said it can be repaired.

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