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Suspect surrenders after break-in at NC science museum

Posted September 23, 2013

— A man caught on security video breaking into the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences over the weekend surrendered to authorities less than 24 hours after the crime, police said Monday.

State Capitol Police Chief Glen Allen said Joshua Matt Pace, 23, of 201 Buck Jones Road, Raleigh, surrendered late Sunday after photographs from the security video were widely shown by the media.

Pace, who apparently forced his way in through an exterior door, was arrested on misdemeanor charges of breaking and entering and damage to property.

He was out of jail Monday on a $1,500 bond. His court date is scheduled for Oct. 15.

Police said a fire alarm activated inside the Nature Research Center, at 121 W. Jones St., shortly after 3:30 a.m. Sunday, and video captured a bearded man wearing a dark hat, white jacket and dark clothing, using a fire extinguisher against a door.

Museum spokesman Mark Johnson said the intruder knocked off a door handle and tried to break through some glass.

But nothing appeared to be stolen and none of the exhibits was damaged, he added.

Nature Research Center Raleigh man charged in break-in at science museum

There was, however, minor water damage to doors after the intruder apparently turned on a water hose valve. The doors are in an area the public generally doesn’t see, Johnson said.

Part of the museum's electrical system was also turned off, which resulted in a loss of food at the museum's restaurant.

"We were very fortunate that the damage was minimal and, of course, most fortunate that there was no one here and no one was injured," Johnson said. "We're grateful that none of the exhibits were damaged, and so we're able to be open and fully operational today."

Allen said the break-in appeared to be random, but he did not offer a possible motive for the crime.

Pace is a recent graduate of North Carolina State University, where he majored in engineering and played rugby.

When reached Monday afternoon, he said he had no comment.


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  • happy2.0 Sep 24, 2013

    What a random crime. Just odd in general. It does seem as if he either has a problem or took/was given drugs. Hope he gets it together.

  • Jack Flash Sep 23, 2013

    Huh. A college graduate, and from as prestigious a program as NCSU's engineering school, at that. Certainly bolsters the case that this was alcohol-inspired idiocy rather than that his clothing indicates he is a loser, as posited on the previous article.

    Dude may have a real drinking problem. Aside from that, it seems that he has a lot of things in place for becoming a productive citizen. He deserves some serious consequences for this, but he also seems to need some help. We'll all probably be better off if we include the help than if we play tough by rant-typing about burying him under the jail.