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Thieves steal meteorites from NC science institute

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ROSMAN, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina authorities are searching for thieves who stole more than 100 meteorites from around the globe in a Christmas Eve break-in at a science education center.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported Friday (http://avlne.ws/TJWKIY ) that the space rocks were taken from the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute, located on an isolated mountaintop about an hour's drive southwest of Asheville.

Research institute vice president Dave Clavier said the meteorites are irreplaceable. He said each one is a one-of-a-kind object that flew millions of miles through space before crashing to earth. Security cameras recorded images of three people entering the facility.

The not-for-profit foundation provides hands-on educational and research opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math. The facility was formerly a NASA tracking station and a National Security Agency station during the Cold War.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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