Minerals stolen at Graves Mountain in Lincoln County returned

News

LINCOLN COUNTY, Ga.(WJBF) – We have a NewsChannel 6 update as valuable mineral rocks stolen from Graves Mountain in Lincolnton have been recovered.

NewsChannel 6 first reported on the theft when it happened in October.

To the average eye, the rocks may not look like much but what we’re talking about are minerals worth some serious cash.

“These are high dollar rocks…10, 20, $25,000 a piece,” said Lincoln County Major Jim Wallen.

We first told you they were stolen from Graves Mountain in early October at the “Rock, Swap and Dig.”

Pieces were taken from several vendors including Caretaker Junior Norman.

“The rutile on Graves Mountain is some of the best in the world. The other specimens my guys lost, I feel sorry for them,” said Norman.

Wallen says they had a suspect all along who was on the mountain the weekend the minerals were stolen.

“I told him we really need to get these rocks back or I’d be coming to Atlanta and we’d be talking face to face and we’d talk a little more in depth about this,” said Wallen.

Then came Sunday morning. The rocks were found at St. Paul Methodist Church in Lincolnton.

“There was a note there that said, ‘Please, turn these into the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.’ and there was another note where he apologized.for what he had done,” said Wallen.

Now, Norman says he’s happy he got the phone call from the Major, letting him know the rocks had been returned.

Norman says it’s not just about the money, it’s also about trust.

“We’ve been doing the rock swap and dig for 18 years and we’ve never had anything like this before,” said Norman.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office says they aren’t pressing charges and there was no name left on the note with the minerals.

Major Wallen says it will be up to the owners of the rocks to decide it they’d like to press charges against the suspect.

The suspect’s name is not being released at this time.

NewsChannel 6 will continue to keep you updated.

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