News State Western Australia News Police hunt for crocodile skull stolen from museum

Police hunt for crocodile skull stolen from museum

This 42-kilogram crocodile skull was stolen from the Kununurra Historical Society. Photo: Kununurra Historical Society
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Police are on the hunt for a 42-kilogram saltwater crocodile skull stolen from a museum in Western Australia’s Kimberley.

The skull was stolen from the Kununurra Museum in the early hours of Sunday morning.

In a statement posted to Facebook, the Kununurra Museum called for the public’s help to return the item.

“Sadly we lost an iconic display that has been enjoyed by thousands and thousands of visitors to Kununurra Museum in the past 15 years,” the post read.

“Over the long weekend some incredibly self-centred, irresponsible selfish [person/s] have stolen our saltwater crocodylus porosus skull.”

The post stated that the 4.8-metre crocodile was shot by Hugo Austla at the lower Ord River in the East Kimberley in the 1960s.

“Hugo approached [Kununurra Historical Society stalwarts], Bill and Judy Withers, and swapped the skull for an engagement ring!” the post said.

“Please help us bring this back to Kununurra Museum!

“If you see anyone with croc teeth, or you know anything or hear anything, please make contact with us or Kununurra Police.”

Police call for public’s help

First Class Constable David Law of Kununurra Police said the offender forced entry into the museum at about 4:00am on January 27.

Constable Law said no other items were stolen and police were investigating whether it was a targeted burglary.

“It is definitely quite unique, and given that it is unique we are hoping that it is going to show up or a member of the public is going to be able to point us in the right direction of where we might be able to find the crocodile skull,” he said.

We are thinking a 42 kilogram croc skull might be seen [being carried by the offender] walking down the street and hopefully maybe a member of the public might have seen that.

“It is hard to put a price on it. It is more the sentimental value that makes it worth more than you can put a price on.”

Croc skulls worth thousands

Aaron Rodwell from NT leather business Croc Stock and Barra said crocodile skulls are highly collectible and valuable, however need documentation.

“Things like skulls and skins, if they don’t have the relevant permits that come with them then they are not really worth anything,” he said.

“The only thing they are worth is big trouble in the courts, but they are definitely a collectible item.

“I have a waiting list for big crocodile skulls and big crocodile skins and the ones that I catch are pretty much sold before I catch them, that’s how sought after they are.”

Mr Rodwell said the skull could be worth thousands of dollars.

“I have sold skulls from big animals like that for up to $10,000,” he said.

“It could potentially be worth more.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Kununurra Police or Crime Stoppers.