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Drug-addict pool builder hid a stolen 11kg meteorite as an decoration in his backyard has been jailed

How a drug addict almost got away with owning a stolen 11-pound meteorite – and the remark that the police had charged him

  • A man hid a stolen $ 15,000 meteorite in his backyard for five years
  • Joseph Gertig was sentenced to 16 months in prison for drug abuse in Cairns
  • The police stormed home after talking about keeping a serious matter in custody

A drugged pool builder who hid a stolen five-billion-year-old meteorite as a rock ornament in his garden has been jailed on drug charges.

Joseph William Gertig was sentenced to 16 months in prison for receiving a stolen meteorite worth $ 15,000 on Thursday and for possessing methamphetamines, cannabis and drug paraphernalia.

Police searched Gertig’s home in Mooroobool, Cairns, Queensland, and found 6.31g of ice, cannabis and pipes in July last year.

A Cairns man hid a stolen five-billion-year-old meteorite when a rock ornament in his garden was jailed on drug-related charges (Image: The meteorite is being returned to the Crystal Cave Museum).

The 11 kg meteorite was repaired when it was stolen from the Crystal Cave Museum (picture) five years ago

The 11 kg meteorite was repaired when it was stolen from the Crystal Cave Museum (picture) five years ago

But when Gertig was overheard talking about the keeping of a heavy round object in custody, the police again searched his property and located the stolen 11 kg meteorite.

Attorney Nathan Crane told the court that the stone had some “bumps and bruises” but was repaired before returning to the Crystal Caves Museum.

Mr. Crane said Gertig had owned the stone for five years but did not originally steal it.

“It’s an important item and you must have seen its intrinsic value,” Crane said, according to the Cairns Post.

The Wolfe Creek meteorite was photographed in the crystal caves before it was stolen in 2015

The Wolfe Creek meteorite was photographed in the crystal caves before it was stolen in 2015

Wolfe Creek Crater, WA, where Stuart Foster found the stone in 1973.  It took Rene Boissevain 42 years to convince his friend to donate it to the museum - and only two weeks to be stolen

Wolfe Creek Crater, WA, where Stuart Foster found the stone in 1973. It took Rene Boissevain 42 years to convince his friend to donate it to the museum – and only two weeks to be stolen

Defense attorney Michael Dalton defended Gertig’s possession of the meteorite.

“He was aware that (the meteorite) was stolen and it was a novelty in his garden for a number of years,” said Dalton.

Gertig was sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment on drug-related charges and can be paroled in July this year.

No one was charged with stealing the football-sized stone.

The meteorite was stolen during a midnight attack two weeks after it was donated to Atherton’s Crystal Caves Museum in June 2015.

The meteorite was discovered in 1973 at Wolfe Creek Crater in Western Australia. Experts believe it came from an area between Mars and Jupiter.

Gertig had the stone in his possession for five years, but did not originally steal it from the Crystal Cave Museum (picture)

Gertig had the stone in his possession for five years, but did not originally steal it from the Crystal Cave Museum (picture)

The football-sized meteorite was brought back to the Crystal Cave Museum (picture) after disappearing five years

The football-sized meteorite was brought back to the Crystal Cave Museum (picture) after disappearing five years

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