An eccentric Russian UFO fancier claims his three ton meteorite has been stolen.
Russian news agency Interfax carried reports on Friday that police in the northern Russian town of Krasnoyarsk were "combing the city" for a "giant rock stolen from under the noses of its keepers".
According to Interfax, the space boulder was brought to Krasnoyarsk by Yuriy Lavbin in 2004 after an expedition to the site of the famous Tunguska explosion which occurred above a remote region of Siberia in 1908.
The Tunguska explosion is thought to have been of 10 or 20 megaton magnitude. It flattened trees over 800 square miles and lit up the night sky across Europe. No confirmed impact crater has been found, leading scientists to theorise that the event was perhaps caused by a comet nucleus exploding in mid-air, heated catastrophically by its hypervelocity passage into the atmosphere. Italian researchers said last month they had found a lake which could be a crater, but got a sceptical reception.
Others prefer more radical explanations. Before mounting his 2004 Tunguska expedition, Lavbin reportedly told Pravda: "We intend to uncover evidences that will prove the fact that it was not a meteorite that rammed the Earth, but a UFO."
As it turned out, on his return Lavbin claimed he had a new theory - that the event was a collision of a meteorite with an alien spaceship.
"They [the aliens] exploded this enormous meteorite that headed towards us with enormous speed," Yuri Lavbin said.
"Now this great object that caused the meteorite to explode is found at last. We will continue our research."
Wire services said at the time that a "50 kilogram piece of the stone" had been delivered to Krasnoyarsk by the expedition, along with metallic spaceship parts.
Now, however, it appears that Lavbin is claiming he had brought back a three ton meteorite to his offices in the Siberian town.
"It winds up that it disappeared back in June, when the foundation was moving out of its old building," a police spokesman told Interfax.
"Our colleagues are establishing what got lost, where the rock is, and why they only came to us about it now," he said.
Something to do with government/alien conspirators using mind-control rays to make them forget they had it, we're guessing - until they slipped on their tinfoil titfers again this month, and suddenly it all became clear. ®