Pair surrender in dinosaur theft from NC museum
Posted July 17, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — 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."