Investigators are looking into the disappearance of $700,000 in gold dust from a medical research lab. At this time, it is unknown if the gold dust was stolen or misplaced.
Pfizer Incorporated, which owned the gold dust, discovered it was missing when one of its employees completed an inventory of the research lab, reports St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Pfizer was using the gold dust for medical research and were not sure if the gold dust was used but was not reported or if it was stolen.
Pfizer has asked police to help with the investigation and issued a statement about the missing gold dust. In the statement, Pfizer said “We are taking this matter very seriously and working closely with local law enforcement authorities on this ongoing investigation. It would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this time until the police investigation has been completed.”
Not all of the gold dust that was stored in the research lab was missing, which is what led to officials to be uncertain if the gold dust was stolen or its use went undocumented. Depending on the purity of the gold, the purer the gold would lead to a lighter weight, the total weight of $700,000 of gold dust could weigh 30 to 70 pounds, reports St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
According to KMOV, the gold was stored in an unlocked cabinet in the medical research lab but was rarely used in experiments. Pfizer believes the theft, or unreported use, of the gold dust could have occurred between November 2011 and November 2012.
Selling the gold dust would not be easy, reports St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Gold dust is uncommon for resale and usually only people working within the industry or jewelers. It would also only be sold in small containers so chances are, if someone did steal the gold dust, they would have a hard time selling the large quantity in one transaction.
Gold buyers are also leery of the purity of gold dust, reports St. Louis Post-Dispatch. According to Mike Matula, a general manager of a local gold buyer and jewelry store, “Any kind of dust I’ve ever gotten has turned out to be nothing. We buy gold at its melt value, and there’s no way to test (gold dust) in the store,” notes St. Louis Post-Dispatch.