Local News

Pair surrender in dinosaur theft from NC museum

Posted July 17, 2014

Logan Todd Ritchey and Alyssa Ann Lavacca

— A couple suspected of stealing a dinosaur replica and other items from two state museums in downtown Raleigh this week surrendered to State Capitol Police on Thursday.

Logan Todd Ritchey, 21, of 12524 Village Pines Lane in Raleigh, and Alyssa Ann Lavacca, 21, of 812 Crossway Lane in Holly Springs, were each charged with conspiracy to commit felony larceny and two counts of theft or destruction of property of public libraries or museums.

On Monday, a polymer resin model of an Edmontosaurus (duck-billed) hatchling valued at $10,000 was taken from the Prehistoric North Carolina exhibit in the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. A museum security video shows a man jumping over the exhibit barrier, picking up the dinosaur casting and climbing out before putting it in a purse carried by a female accomplice.

Police said the same couple was spotted on a security video snatching several items from the North Carolina Museum of History shortly before the dinosaur theft.

Shortly after media reports of the thefts began circulating Wednesday afternoon, a man deposited a bag near the rear service entrance of the science museum that contained the dinosaur replica, police said. He left the area before officers arrived.

The other stolen items have also been recovered, police said.

"I doubt these two individuals realized the seriousness of tampering with artifacts and exhibits in a public museum,” State Capitol Police Chief Glen Allen said in a statement. “North Carolina’s Museum of Natural Sciences and Museum of History are premier facilities known throughout the nation. Thousands of North Carolinians and tourists visit regularly to enjoy exhibits and programs that offer opportunities to get up close and personal with science and history. We want to help preserve that experience for everyone."

55 Comments

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  • Paladin2 Jul 24, 2014

    You would not want to tell your fellow inmates that you are in prison for stealing a little dinosaur hatchling. That would not get you much respect after all the laughter died down.

  • pay it forward Jul 18, 2014

    They took property that did not belong to them and they should be charged as such. Quit just slapping people on the hand and giving them no consequence of the crime they commented.

  • mcleggdio Jul 18, 2014

    OK, so a pair of kids did something crazy and got busted. I get that. We have all done stuff like that at one level or another. What I would like to know is how a polymer resin model of an Edmontosaurus (duck-billed) hatchling is valued at $10,000 and who paid for this?

  • elkerster Jul 18, 2014

    View quoted thread



    You however are forgetting this is not the only place the stole from. Sorry but I don't see anything wrong with their charges.

  • A person Jul 18, 2014

    Dumb and dumber

  • Roy Blumenfeld Jul 18, 2014

    The misconception here seems to be that they are "kids". While they are certainly immature and lack respect for museum property, at 21 you are an adult with the capacity to know better. They turned themselves in and, in general, I really don't think they should waste jail cells on petty crimes. However, the charges aren't excessive; they fit exactly what these two did.

    I'm also a bit disappointed in the museum security here. What is the point of having security cameras and guards if they aren't monitoring things until after the fact?

  • Brian Hill Jul 18, 2014

    View quoted thread



    I'd like to see them explain to the jury how they bilked taxpayers for overpriced models.

    A felony charge is too extreme, regardless of what the pieces of paper the state puts out say. They should be made to do community service and work for the museum cleaning the bathrooms. They should not have the rest of their lives ruined over a felony charge for something as stupid as this.

    It is no wonder the US has such a high prison population; with the backwards punitive populists running this country people who make stupid mistakes are turned into hardened career criminals.

  • I-Defy Jul 18, 2014

    they look like they have this weird co-dependancy thing. Like everything is a joke but theyre the only ones in on it.

  • Duff Dry Jul 18, 2014

    View quoted thread



    Yes, but how are they going to start their own museum now?

  • sinenomine Jul 18, 2014

    A good deal of nonsense going on here today.

    Whether the dinosaur is worth ten thousand dollars or ten million dollars is immaterial. All it has to be worth to make its theft a Class H felony is $1K. If there's disagreement as to the value it's up to the jury to decide; GS 14-72(a) (http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/statutes/statutelookup.pl?statute=14-72).

    The pair is also charged under GS 14-398 with stealing the property of a library, gallery, museum etc. Under that statute the value of the article stolen need only exceed $50.00 to make it a Class H felony. It is difficult for me to believe that the article(s) stolen wouldn't be valued at least to that amount. GS 14-398 is here: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/statutes/statutelookup.pl?statute=14-398.

    This is not excessive charging. The charges described are precisely what the pair is alleged to have done.

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