Two men charged as feds crack case of missing Anchorage mammoth tusk

A wooly mammoth on display in the Royal BC Museum. (Photo by FunkMonk/Wikimedia commons)

Prosecutors are charging two men with stealing a 10,000-year-old mammoth tusk from the federal Bureau of Land Management in Anchorage.

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Federal prosecutors Friday unveiled theft and conspiracy charges against Gary Boyd and Martin Elze. The two were also charged with breaking a federal fossil theft law, and Elze faces a fourth charge of witness tampering.

Federal prosecutors didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. But the indictment against Boyd and Elze appears to be a break in a case that had gone unsolved since the tusk went missing six months ago.

A photo of the 100-pound mammoth tusk released by the Bureau of Land Management to help identify the tusk if found. (Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management)

Charging documents allege that in March, Boyd, Elze and an unidentified accomplice visited the BLM-run Campbell Creek Science Center in East Anchorage. The accomplice asked questions about the tusk’s type and weight, the documents charge.

The documents allege that the next day, Boyd and Elze went back to the center, where Boyd used a rock to break into a window and door. Boyd is charged with taking the 100-pound tusk, and prosecutors assert that Elze waited outside.

They also allege that Elze later defaced the tusk by cutting it.

Elze is already being held in the Anchorage jail on another charge. A spokeswoman for federal prosecutors in Anchorage didn’t immediately respond to a question about Boyd’s whereabouts.

The BLM had offered a $500 reward for information leading to the tusk’s recovery.