North Carolina cops nab suspects in brazen dino heist

Mike Krumboltz
The Sideshow

Attention all units, we have a Code Jurassic. A dinosaur has been kidnapped.

And now, recovered.

On Thursday, North Carolina State Capitol Police arrested a man and woman in connection with the theft of a baby dinosaur model from a display at the state's Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh on Monday.

Logan Todd Ritchey, 21, and Alyssa Ann Lavacca, 21, of Holly Springs, have been charged with two counts of theft or destruction of property of public libraries, museums, etc., according a news release from the Capitol Police. The two turned themselves in to authorities.

Surveillance footage showed a man and woman entering the exhibit, seemingly empty of other visitors. The man climbed the barrier, grabbed the small dinosaur replica, and then placed it in a large purse or bag carried by the woman, the video showed.

It wasn't exactly a caper worthy of "Ocean's Eleven," but the stolen object, a 12- to 14-inch model of a duck-billed Edmontosaurus hatchling, is worth approximately $10,000, according to

Image of baby dinosaur casting (courtesy N.C. Department of Public Safety)
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Image of baby dinosaur casting (courtesy N.C. Department of Public Safety)

Ritchey and Lavacca are suspects in a similar incident, which took place at the nearby North Carolina Museum of History, where an antique medicine bottle was taken.

Fortunately, all the items were recovered. On Wednesday evening, according to police, 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."

The following morning, the two suspects turned themselves in.

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.  

In short: The baby dinosaur is back where it belongs, which means the odds of this happening are a lot lower. Yay.

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