- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Decorative ivory elephant tusks and whale bone have been reported stolen from a church thrift store in downtown Juneau.

Officials with the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church reported the thefts to police on Saturday after noticing them missing from The Mustard Seed Resale Shop.

“Someone donated them, and then someone stole them,” church administrator Alison Talley said.

The tusks were described as being carved with lines of little elephants, while the whale bone bore a carving of an Alaska Native woman holding a child, the Juneau Empire reported (http://bit.ly/1FxlGbp ). Talley did not have a photo of them.

The items were donated anonymously to the shop, which sells clothing, furniture and household items often donated by congregation members. Proceeds benefit the church’s missions.

Lt. David Campbell, a police spokesman, said the tusks were being sold at the shop for $150 each and the whale bone for $450. He said police had no leads and had found no signs of forced entry.

Talley said the store normally does not experience much theft. But she said someone recently stole a homemade donation box placed outside the door.

“There had been a few donations made, and we didn’t even have a chance to count it before it was stolen,” she said.

The shop, operated by women affiliated with the church, is manned by volunteers. The shop usually keeps some lower-priced items outside so people can buy things they need, even if the store isn’t open.

“People generally are very honest about those things,” Talley said. She has opened up the door in the past and found quarters and dollar bills pushed underneath it by people paying for merchandise. “It’s worked really well with us up until just now.”

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Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com

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