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Seeking an author’s legendary treasure, thief steals a chest of linens, N.M. police say

Robert Miller
Robert Miller Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department

Following clues in a poem in Forrest Fenn’s 2010 memoir “The Thrill of the Chase,” a treasure hunter thought he’d uncovered Fenn’s hidden riches — inside the author’s New Mexico home, reported The Albuquerque Journal.

But the 41-year-old intruder had actually tried to make off with a fancy “Spanish-style chest” holding linens and towels when the author’s daughter held him at gunpoint for Santa Fe police Friday night, reported The Santa Fe New Mexican.

Robert Miller told police he’d flown to Santa Fe from Pennsylvania in search of Fenn’s hidden treasure because “he only had $130 in his bank account,” reported KRQE.

In his 2010 memoir, Fenn wrote about hiding ”about $2 million” in gold and jewels in the Rocky Mountains, sparking an 8-year treasure hunt that has resulted in at least three deaths, reported Business Insider.

Fenn, an art and antiquities collector, wrote that he’d buried the chest somewhere in the “1,000 miles between Santa Fe, New Mexico and the Canadian border,” and included clues to its location in a “cryptic” poem, reported CNBC.

Miller apparently thought a reference to “the hole of brown” in the poem meant a brown gate on Fenn’s property, according to The Santa Fe New Mexican.

He kicked down the gate, then took an ax to break a door window and enter the house to look for the box of riches, reported The Albuquerque Journal.

“I’ve said 100 times that the treasure is not on my property,” Fenn said, according to The Santa Fe New Mexican. “It’s north of Santa Fe.”

Fenn and his daughter found Miller carrying the linen box when they returned home at 5:30 p.m from a dental appointment, the publication reported.

Another daughter who lives nearby detained Miller, who was “crying and apologizing,” with a pistol until police arrived, reported The Albuquerque Journal.

Miller faces charges of residential burglary, breaking and entering and criminal damage to property, reported the publication.

Sometimes plans don't quite work out as intended. Take a look at some would-be criminals who could have used a practice run or two.

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