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[VIDEO] Dinosaur Theft Suspects Turn Themselves In, Authorities Say

The donosaur heist suspects
NC Dept. of Public Safety

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 stolen polymer resin model of an Edmontosaurus (duck-billed) hatchling is about 12-14 inches long
Credit NC Dept. of Public Safety
The stolen polymer resin model of an Edmontosaurus (duck-billed) hatchling is about 12-14 inches long

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.

This is an alternate view of the suspects.
Credit NC Dept. of Public Safety
This is an alternate view of the suspects.

And here is another closeup of the suspects.
Credit NC Dept. of Public Safety
And here is another close-up of the suspects.

Carol Jackson has been with WUNC since 2006. As Digital News Editor, she writes stories for, and helps reporters and hosts make digital versions of their radio stories. She is also responsible for sharing stories on social media. Previously, Carol spent eight years with WUNC's nationally syndicated show The Story with Dick Gordon, serving as Managing Editor and Interim Senior Producer.
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