2 accused of stealing $10K dinosaur model charged

RALEIGH, WAKE COUNTY - Two people accused of stealing a dinosaur model worth $10,000 from a North Carolina museum have turned themselves in.

According to the N.C. Department of Public Safety, 21-year-old Logan Todd Ritchey, of Raleigh, and 21-year-old Alyssa Ann Lavacca, of Holly Springs, turned themselves in to State Capitol Police Thursday morning.

The suspects are accused of stealing a $10,000 replica of a baby Edmontosaurus from the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences on Monday. Surveillance video showed a man jumping over the barrier of the Prehistoric North Carolina exhibit, taking the dinosaur model, and putting it in a woman's bag.

Officials said a male dropped off a bag near the rear service entrance of the museum after business hours Wednesday. That bag contained the dinosaur model stolen on Monday.

According to the N.C. Department of Public Safety, Ritchey and Lavacca are charged with two felony counts of theft or destruction of property of public libraries, museums, etc. Ritchey was being held on a $2,000 secured bond and Lavacca was released on an unsecured bond.

"I doubt these two individuals realized the seriousness of tampering with artifacts and exhibits in a public museum," said State Capitol Police Chief Glen Allen. "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."

Police said an item worth less than $1,000 was also stolen from the Museum of History on Monday. That item has been recovered as well.


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