Two suspects in the Monday theft of an expensive dinosaur model from the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences voluntarily turned themselves in Thursday morning, officials say. The stolen property has been recovered.
Logan Todd Ritchey, 21, of Raleigh, and Alyssa Ann Lavacca, 21, of Holly Springs are charged with two counts of theft or destruction of property of public libraries, museums, etc.
Authorities say that Wednesday evening after business hours, someone deposited a bag near the rear service entrance of the Museum of Natural Sciences. The person left the scene before officers arrived, but the bag contained the dinosaur replica that had been stolen from the facility on Monday.
This morning, the two suspects voluntarily went to the State Capitol Police Department and turned themselves in. Each was cooperative with the investigation.
“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.
Original story 7/16/14:
A man and a woman were caught on videotape Monday July 14 taking a miniature baby dinosaur replica, worth about $10,000, from a display at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
Watch the heist here:
The museum describes how the theft took place this way:
The young couple passed through the Prehistoric North Carolina exhibit while other visitors were in the area. They returned three minutes later, and the male jumped the exhibit barrier, picked up the dinosaur casting, climbed out and put it in a large multi-colored purse carried by the female accomplice.
The male is believed to be in his 20s, has light brown hair and is about 5 feet 7 inches tall. He was wearing a dark gray t-shirt, white shorts with gray or green horizontal-stripes and black and white sneakers.
The female, believed to be in her 20s, has brown hair, is about 5 feet 6 inches tall, and was wearing a pink shirt, blue shorts and ankle-high boots.
The stolen dinosaur is a model of an Edmontosaurus (duck-billed) hatchling. The theft is a felony offense.
Do you have information on the suspects? Call the State Capitol Police at (919) 733-3333.