Suspects in Raleigh dinosaur theft arrested, property recovered

Logan Todd Ritchey and Alyssa Ann Lavacca
Friday, July 18, 2014
The father of one of the two suspects in Monday's N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences theft wants to know what his son was thinking when he and a female accomplice allegedly stole a dinosaur model from a prehistoric exhibit.

Logan Todd Ritchey, 21, of Raleigh, and Alyssa Ann Lavacca, 21, of Holly Springs, voluntarily turned themselves in Thursday morning, after surveillance video of the theft was released to the media.

"My son is an intelligent and inquisitive guy and is human like all us," Ken Ritchey told ABC11. "He made a mistake. I have no idea what he was thinking, but he's going to have to learn from this."

ABC11 was unable to reach Lavacca or her family for comment.

Ritchey and Lavacca face two counts of theft or destruction of property of public libraries, museums, etc. Both are felony offenses under North Carolina law.

Ritchey bonded out on a $2,000 secured bond, while Lavacca was released on an unsecured bond Thursday evening.

During their brief court appearances Friday morning, both waived the option of court appointed counsel and told the court they would hire their own attorneys.

The surveillance video from the theft Monday showed a man jump over a short barrier, pick up the duck-billed hatchling and climb out, before putting the replica inside a female accomplice's bag.

The missing properties from both the Museum of Natural Sciences and the Museum of History have been recovered.

Wednesday evening, police said a man left 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 stolen dinosaur replica.

"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."

Allen said security camera video was instrumental in resolving the case.

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