Two Independence residents charged in stolen statue case

Two Independence residents face theft charges in connection with a stolen statue from the National Frontier Trails Museum.

The Jackson County Prosecutor's Office said Jeremy W. Ratliff, 36, and Kelli L. Summers, 33, each face a felony count of theft.  They're accused of stealing the bronze "Pioneer Woman" statue last Friday.

Museum administrator David Aamodt said the statue cost $35,000 dollars 23 years ago.  He feared the thieves were hoping to sell the statue's metal.

"It was far more valuable as a piece of art than it would have ever been as scrap metal," Aamodt said.

According to court records, police contacted area recyclers after the statue turned up missing. Police said one recyclers responded with information about two men bringing metal to a scrap dealer.

Authorities said at least one piece of the metal appeared to be a hand. Video images helped police identify at least one suspect.

Both have a $50,000 cash bond.

Independence Police are also looking for 29-year-old Randy Perez in connection with the crime.  If you have any information on his whereabouts contact police.

 

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