CLAREMONT, Calif. – Indiana Jones better get his alibi ready.
A large crystal skull similar to those at the center of the upcoming Harrison Ford movie was recently stolen from a New Age store, puzzling employees in part because of the laid-back nature of shop regulars.
"We have zero shoplifting in here, and I have no idea why anyone would take something as lovely as that," said Persis Newland, owner of Kindred Spirits in Claremont, about 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.
The skull, named Solar Ray by owner Don Marr, had been on loan at Kindred Spirits for about four months and went missing about two weeks ago. It had sat on an altar in the store's classroom area and was considered one of the shop's prized objects.
"He was on an altar, and he just enjoyed being here," said employee Kristen Nestor, who supervises the store's weekly crystal-reading classes. "He participated in our classes."
Nestor said she believes the skull is as old as 500 years.
"He likes to travel and things like that," Nestor said. "He was here for about four months, just enjoying everyone who comes through here."
Marr filed a police report on the missing skull last week, but police have had no luck so far.
Legend has it that the ancient Maya possessed 13 crystal skulls which, when united, hold the power of saving the Earth. Some version of the story is the basis for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," which opens in U.S. theaters on May 22.
Hundreds of crystal skulls are believed to be in existence, which experts dismiss as fakes made by antiquities traders in the 19th century. All the same, believers say the skulls have powers to heal and influence natural events.
Newland believes the attention the film has focused on the skulls may have prompted the theft.
"Someone must have thought about it in that term, connected with the movie or something," Newland said. "I have no idea why someone would take that and not the other things that are equally valuable on the altar."