Man surrenders in break-in at North Carolina Museum of Natural Science in Raleigh

Joshua Matt Pace (Image courtesy Wake County Sheriff's Office)
September 23, 2013 1:21:27 PM PDT
Police say a man has turned himself in following a break-in at the Nature Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science in Raleigh. The entire wing of the facility was closed to visitors Sunday while museum officials assessed the cost of the damage and crews were brought in to clean up.

Police identified the man as 23-year-old Joshua Matt Pace of Raleigh. He's charged with breaking and entering and damage to property.

However, no one has explained why the vandal did what he did. Even the man accused would not say when ABC11 found him at his home Monday afternoon and asked if he had been intoxicated.

"I'm not interested in saying anything right now," said Pace.  

The rest of the museum was open as scheduled Sunday, but some said family outings were spoiled.

"We had to travel and then for it to be closed it's kind of an inconvenience for us," said Fayetteville resident Carissa Blanks who made the drive to Raleigh specifically to see the Nature Research Center.

"I am surprised. Who going to break into a museum?" added Raleigh resident Vincent Sanders.

A museum spokesperson said a vandal broke down a door and went on to do thousands of dollars worth of damage. There was also some water damage from a sprinkler system going off, but thankfully nothing was stolen during the break-in and artifacts were not damaged.

People who wanted to spend their Sunday inside the center said they'll just come back in the future.

"A year and a half I haven't been here yet. Gotta see it," said Raleigh resident Mery Broder.

"We're gonna try. Just give them a call first...give them a call first, make sure it's open the next time we try and come up here," she added.

The Nature Research Center will reopen Monday morning at 9 am. There are repairs that still need to be done, but a museum official said that should not interfere with folks visiting the museum.

Bond for Pace was set at $1,500.

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