Tusk returned, then stolen again
The case of the stolen elephant tusks has been solved. Sort of.
The Express called for information after a Dominion Post story last week mentioned that an elephant tusk was stolen from Marlborough in 1992.
Marlborough Sounds bone carver Norm Clark phoned to say the tusk belonged to him and was stolen from him twice.
The first time one of a pair of tusks was taken from an art gallery in Rai Valley in 1992, it ended up buried at the Kapiti home of convicted drug dealer Jack Webber, 49, also known as "Island Jack" and now presumed drowned.
The tusk was among items found by police at the property several years later and Mr Clark went to Porirua police station to identify the tusk and take it back.
The second time was in 1997 when tenants of a house he was renting out in Renwick had taken antiques from a shed on the property and sold them.
The items included the pair of tusks along with whale teeth, jaw bones and other antiques belonging to his father and grandfather. None of the items were recovered, he said.
Police raided the house of a man who was thought to have taken the items, but they could not get a search warrant for another house where Mr Clark thought the tusks would be stashed. He had not seen the tusks since.
The tusks were mentioned in an article about an upcoming inquest on December 19 into the deaths of Webber and his friend Hamish Kronfield.
The pair went missing in May 1999 when their boat overturned near Passage Rocks, off the eastern side of Kapiti Island.
The article said police dug from the lawn a 40-kilogram elephant tusk, one of a pair stolen in 1992 from a Marlborough art gallery.
Chief coroner's office spokesman Steve Corbett said the inquest was one of several that were part of a joint initiative by the chief coroner and the police missing persons unit to review older files to check whether there was any new information and wrap them up.
The Marlborough Express