A man has been charged after he allegedly stole a dinosaur claw worth $25,000 from a gem exhibit and attempted to sell it to another seller days later, Tucson, Arizona police said .
Christopher Thomas, 39, allegedly took the claw from a vendor at the city’s Gem and Mineral Show on January 30 and then attempted to sell it to another on February 8, police said, according to NBC affiliate KVOA from Tucson.
That second seller, Adam Aaronson, recognized the artifact and contacted Eric Miller, the owner of the dinosaur fossil who reported the two claws stolen on Jan. 30, the news station reported.
Together they set up a miniature sting operation. They told the suspect to bring the claw for a “buyer”, who was actually Miller, to check.
“When I saw him walk into the room where I was hiding as a potential buyer, I was absolutely thrilled,” Miller told KVOA.
Aaronson then confronted Thomas, saying they would call the police.
“I said to the guy, ‘Sorry, we have a problem, this claw is stolen property. We’re going to have to call the police,” Aaronson said.
Thomas has been charged with trafficking in stolen property, according to police.
Information about his lawyer was not immediately available.
The second claw stolen from Miller is still missing.