Sunspot Observatory reopens as mystery surrounding closure continues | KOB 4
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Sunspot Observatory reopens as mystery surrounding closure continues

Megan Abundis
September 17, 2018 05:26 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Sunspot Observatory in southern New Mexico reopened Monday. However, the FBI is still not saying why it was closed and nearby homes and businesses were evacuated for 11 days.

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A man, who says he works at the observatory, said $15,000 worth of equipment was stolen.

The employee also said loose security has led to criminal trespassing, vandalism, and theft.

However, the observatory director disputes the employee’s claims.

"There is not $15,000 of stuff stolen. That's just false," said Dr. James McAteer.

Dr. McAteer manages the site from Las Cruces. He admits that he’s in the dark about the reason behind the shutdown and evacuations.

"When anyone is in charge of the investigation or in charge of the site is ready to come out say what those things are, I'll find out, same time you find out," Dr. McAteer said.

Aura, which owns and operates the site, said there was a security risk. In a statement, the company said a suspect, in a criminal investigation, posed a potential threat to staff.

KOB reached out to the FBI. It referred all questions to Aura, which has not answered any questions.

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Megan Abundis

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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