|
|
Examiner
  • Third suspect charged in statue's theft, destruction

  • The third suspect in the theft and destruction of the Pioneer Woman statue from an Independence museum has been charged after he turned himself in to Independence police on Friday.

    • email print
  • By The Examiner staff
    The third suspect in the theft and destruction of the Pioneer Woman statue from an Independence museum has been charged after he turned himself in to Independence police on Friday.
    Randy V. Perez, 29, who lives on the 1500 block of South Willow Avenue in Independence, is charged with a Class B felony of stealing property valued at $25,000 or more. The statue originally cost $35,000 but had a current value of $75,000, according to the city of Independence. Bond for Perez, who also was charged in an unrelated crime, was set at $75,000 cash only.  
    The statue would fall under the city’s property insurance, but the city manager’s office said Friday that any claim would be less than the city’s deductible.
    Police say three people – Perez, Kelli L. Summers, 33, and Jeremy W. Ratliff, 36, all of Independence – stole the statue about 7 a.m. last Saturday from the courtyard of the National Frontier Trails Museum. They loaded the 6-foot hollow bronze statue, weighing several hundred pounds, into the back of a Ford Escort wagon and drove off. Summers told police they took it to Willow Avenue and dropped it off along with the man she knew only as “Bubba.”
    Police say Summers and Ratliff returned later that day to pick up Perez and what remained of the statue, after it was chopped and beaten into scrap. They tried to sell the scrap at 12th Street Recycling in Kansas City, but employees there suspected it was a destroyed piece of art – they saw a hand – and refused to buy it. The scrap value would have been $578. Summers told police they took the scrap back to the home on Willow.
    Summers and Ratliff were arrested Wednesday and charged with a Class C felony theft charge.
    Police had contacted Perez, who called and agreed to come in for an interview, during which he admitted being with two other suspects at the recycling company, but he denied involvement in the theft of the statue.
    The statue was commissioned for the 1990 opening of the Trails Center and had stood in the courtyard facing a window into the museum.
    Prosecutors also charged Perez in connection with a Feb. 14 burglary at a house in the 4000 block of South Phelps. The home had a video surveillance system. Prosecutors requested a cash bond of $25,000 in that case.
     
      • calendar