1 arrested, 1 sought in meteorite theft at observatory - FOX Carolina 21

1 arrested, 1 sought in meteorite theft at observatory

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Robin Baldwin Jr. (left) and Brian Koontz. (Transylvania Co. Sheriff's Office) Robin Baldwin Jr. (left) and Brian Koontz. (Transylvania Co. Sheriff's Office)
ROSMAN, NC (FOX Carolina) -

One man was arrested and another is wanted in connection with the theft of meteorites and electronics from a western North Carolina observatory, Transylvania County deputies said Sunday.

The theft happened at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute on Pari Drive in Rosman, during the early morning hours of Christmas Eve.

PARI Vice President David Clavier said the thieves, who roamed the facility for about 45 minutes, stole $80,000 worth of electronics and three collections of meteorites that were on loan to the institute.

After the theft, deputies said they had identified three people of interest in the case. They said the trio visited the facility a few days before the theft.

SLIDESHOW: People of interest in NC meteorite theft

In a press release issued Sunday, investigators said they had identified suspects in the case - Robin Baldwin Jr., 30, of Hendersonville, and Brian Koontz, 29, of Balsam Grove.

Deputies said they had arrested Koontz and charged him with felony breaking and entering, conspiring to breaking and entering, felony larceny, conspiring to commit larceny and misdemeanor injury to personal property. They said Baldwin is wanted on the same charges.

Investigators said they were able to recover most of the stolen property, including the collections of space rocks.

Koontz was being held in jail on $10,000 bond.

Anyone with information regarding Baldwin's whereabouts was asked to call Crime Stoppers at 828-862-7463.

Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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