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Chilean Glacier Thieves Caught Cold Handed February 3, 2012
Jorge Montt glacier
The ice would have been sold to bars or possibly melted down to market as drinking water.
Chilean police arrested an alleged member of a gang accused of stealing blocks of ice from the country’s receding Jorge Montt glacier.

Police say the case represents the first known incident of the theft of large quantities of historic ice in the world.

El Mercurio reports the driver of a refrigerated truck was arrested with a cargo of about five tons of ice near the southern city of Cochrane.

Authorities say they have identified other suspects and are tracking them down.

While the value of the ice was estimated at only about $6,000, the driver could face charges of robbing part of the country’s cultural heritage, according to local prosecutor Jose Moris Ferrando.

A time-lapse video released late last year reveals Jorge Montt is melting away at a rate of about 0.6 miles per year, which researchers say represents one of the most visible examples of climate change.

The disappearing glacier is part of the 5,000-square-mile Southern Ice Field, which straddles the Patagonia region of southern Chile and Argentina.

It’s the world’s third largest ice cap after Antarctica and Greenland.

Photo: File