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Man charged after stolen meteorite found

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A man has been charged after an 11kg meteorite allegedly stolen from a gift shop more than five years ago was found in a north Queensland home.

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A man will face court after a meteorite allegedly stolen from a gift shop more than five years ago was found in a North Queensland home.

The 46-year-old was charged with receiving tainted property after police spotted the 11kg space rock at a Cairns property on Saturday.

The meteorite was allegedly taken from Atherton’s Crystal Caves store in June 2015 during a break-in by two men, police said on Thursday.

The size of a soccer-ball and estimated to be more than 4 billion years old, has been valued at about $20,000.

It was found in the Wolfe Creek Crater in Western Australia in 1973 by Stuart Foster, a friend of the owners of the Crystal Caves museum at Atherton.

The meteorite has been returned to its owners and will go back on display in the store’s gallery.

“I am very curious about the journey the meteorite has had in the past five years, where it went and where it’s been,” manager Ghislaine Gallo said.

“Australian specimens are hard to come by … in that size and quality,” she said.

She said it was likely the thieves thought they could break the rock up into smaller pieces and sell them off.

“I think they worked that’s not how meteorites work, it’s not worth anything in smaller bits,” she said.

“It’s worth something as a whole specimen.”

Gallo said the meteorite was valued at $20,000 but couldn’t be sold because it came from a national park.

The man is scheduled to appear in Cairns Magistrates Court on November 25.

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