Police in eastern China arrested two men and are looking for a third who allegedly broke off a 4 million-year-old stalactite in 30 seconds before taking it from the cave where it had been on display.
Surveillance camera footage taken in the Natural Underground Gallery in Yishui county, Shandong province, on April 21 showed three men taking turns to hit the stalactite with a rock to break it off, news site Iqilu.com reported on Tuesday.
"We call that part of the stalactite the Lovebird, and Geography of China, a programme on China Central Television, came last year specially to report on the Lovebird," Yang Feng, an executive at the gallery, told Shandong Business Daily.
"[The men] took a large rock to break the stalactite and caused serious damage. Now the tail of the Lovebird is gone."
Yang said he could not put a monetary value on the stalactite because it took millions of years to form.