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Suspects in Dinosaur Casting Theft Arrested, Property Recovered

From the North Carolina Department of Public Safety:

Contact: Patty McQuillan, Communications Officer
Phone: 919.733.5027

RALEIGH — Two suspects in the Monday theft of a dinosaur model from the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences voluntarily turned themselves in to North Carolina State Capitol Police Thursday morning, and 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. (§ 14-398.).  These are felony offenses under North Carolina law.

Ritchey was being held on a $2,000 secured bond, and Lavacca was released on an unsecured bond.  At this point the missing properties from both the Museum of Natural Sciences and the Museum of History have been recovered.  

Wednesday evening after business hours, a male subject deposited a bag near the rear service entrance of the Museum of Natural Sciences.  He 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.  Investigators conferred with the Wake County District Attorney’s Office and State Capitol Police Sgt. Drew King issued the warrants to Ritchey and Lavacca.

“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.  “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.    

“The dissemination of the security camera video of this incident by the news media was instrumental in bringing this case to fruition,” Allen said.

Publish Date: 
Friday, July 18, 2014