Bellingham Police have identified and arrested two men in connection with a $15,000 theft of golden dominoes from the Whatcom Museum Lightcatcher building earlier this month.
Based on surveillance photos and tips from the public, according to a release from Lt. Danette Beckley, police were able to identify a suspect in the theft, which occurred May 3. The suspect used a tool to break into a display case that contained a five-piece domino set made of 14K gold with diamond inlays for each pip.
On May 17, detectives arrested Bellingham's Paul A. Rich, 50, on suspicion of first-degree theft.
According to the release, subsequent interviews with Rich led police to Bellingham Gold and Silver Buyers on Kellogg Road.
The owner admitted to buying the gold, which had been melted down, according to the release, and selling it to another company in Los Angeles. Detectives were able to contact the California company and the gold has been recovered.
As a result of the investigation, Bellingham Gold and Silver Buyers owner Roger F. Corliss was arrested Thursday on suspicion of first-degree trafficking of stolen property, duty to record information — precious metal property, report to chief law enforcement officer, retention of precious metals and precious metal dealer — license required.
The Whatcom Museum declined to comment on what collection the stolen dominoes were a part of, but Marketing and Public Relations Manager Christina Claassen said she didn't think the theft would have any adverse effects on future exhibits at the museum.
"Unfortunately, museums have to deal with this occasionally," Claassen said. "Typically it doesn't impact what comes to the museum. The important thing is that we communicate clearly with the police and with everyone involved, and I think we did a good job of that in this instance."