FRESNO -- Four men suspected in the heist of more than $1 million in gold and gems from the California State Mining and Minerals Museum in Mariposa have been arrested, investigators said, adding that more arrests were possible.
Men dressed as ninjas and armed with pick-axes broke into the Sierra foothill museum Sept. 28, in broad daylight, and herded two employees into a far room before smashing display cases.
But the thieves failed to get away with the facility's most prized possession: the Fricot nugget, nearly 14 pounds of crystalline gold believed to be the largest nugget to survive the California Gold Rush. The intruders triggered an alarm system, which automatically closed the doors to the nugget's vault, but they dove out in time and escaped the museum with other artifacts.
A spokesman for the California Highway Patrol — the lead agency investigating the state museum break-in — said some of the stolen gold with quartz had been recovered.