• A medical research lab here knows it is missing $700,000 worth of gold dust, but not how. Police have been called to help determine whether it was lost or stolen.
Chesterfield police launched an investigation this week after a Pfizer Inc. employee conducting an inventory failed to find it. Experts say that depending upon the purity, that much gold would weigh from 30 to 70 pounds. The purer the gold, the lighter it would be.
“We’re not even sure if they just didn’t account for it and it was used naturally, or if it was stolen or misplaced,” said police Capt. Steven Lewis. “Some of it is gone and some isn’t.”
Officials said the pharmaceutical giant paid $700,000 for the material last year for use in research in its facility at 700 Chesterfield Parkway West.
Pfizer did not want to comment on how it uses gold. The company issued a statement saying: “We are taking this matter very seriously and working closely with local law enforcement authorities on this ongoing investigation. It would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this time until the police investigation has been completed.”
Local dealers and refiners said a gold dust thief would face layers of problems trying to sell it here.
It is rare for anyone except jewelers to sell gold dust.
Gold dust is most often a byproduct from the gold prospecting and mining process, but refined gold also can be ground into dust.