SEATTLE — The hallways and lobbies of John Pohl’s aptly named Tusk building serve as a display for his collection of prehistoric artifacts. His crown jewel is a chunk of woolly mammoth tusk. That piece was stolen in July of last year – surveillance videos capture what he believes the burglars walking out.
“It’s not the break-in or the smashing of the glass, or the smashing of the building, it’s taking something that’s pretty much irreplaceable,” Pohl said.
Pohl filed a report with the Seattle Police Department last summer but reached out to KING 5 after video of a similar burglary recently aired on TV. The video shows a suspect taking off with a fossilized mammoth tusk worth $19,000.
“I feel violated, I’ve barely recovered from the last incident,” said Kathy Lee of Fossil & Stone.
Prior to the theft, the suspect was "wandering around" the store, according to police. The suspect told store employees his mother was in the store earlier. After walking around the store some more, the suspect grabbed the tusk and ran.
An employee followed the suspect out of the store and sprayed pepper spray in the suspect's direction as she ran toward the getaway vehicle, but it hit her instead.
The suspect was described as a male, roughly 6 feet tall and 20-30 years old. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and black baggy jeans with black and white hand tattoos.
Seattle police say no arrest has been made in either case.
The FBI does investigate what’s called "art and cultural property crime." Monday night an FBI spokesperson confirms the bureau is aware of both incidents but would not confirm or deny if there is an open investigation.
As for Pohl, he says he simply wants his piece back.
“This is heartbreaking. It’s not like somebody else can go out there and create another one. These animals are extinct,” he said.