Authorities recover golden ball stolen from dome of Como Conservatory

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Photo credit St. Paul Police

Update: Authorities say the finial was found after someone reported seeing it in a parking lot on the 1200 block of Lexington Parkway North. The finial was discovered in a giant Christmas stocking. Nobody has been arrested yet.

There’s a mystery at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in St. Paul, and police need your help in solving it.

The shiny gold ball that sat on top of the dome for more than 100 years was stolen early Sunday morning, as seen on surveillance video.

At about 2:30 a.m., five people creep up and, 20 minutes later, walk away with the gold finial.

“People are quite flabbergasted, actually. Why would somebody do this, how would somebody do this? Because it took great acts of leaps and bounds of climbing and very dangerous activity to get to where that was to get it,” said Matt Reinartz with the Como Zoo and Conservatory.

It’s believed the crew climbed the fire escape, ran across the roof of the zoo entrance building and climbed 64 feet to the top of the conservatory.  

As seen on video, some of them have backpacks, presumably with tools inside to help cut the century-old finial right off.

“I don’t believe it has any monetary value, but it certainly does have historic value and even sentimental value. So to the folks that took it – it does nothing for you. To us and to the two million visitors, it does a lot,” Reinartz said. 

It’s believed it was all likely just a dare or a prank, but it’s game over now and time to give the prize back to its owners.

“We’re asking the public to look in the garage, look between the garages and if it was youths, ‘Hey, parents look in the basement, look in the kids bedroom and if you find it, do the right thing and return it,’” he said.

The finial isn’t gold or brass and apparently it's not even that heavy. However, it does mean a lot to the people here.