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Stolen Pirate now back at Platte County High

by Ivan Foley and Kim Fickett
Landmark staff

The Pilfered Pirate is back on school grounds. That was the word Tuesday afternoon from Platte City Police Chief Bill Massock.

But the investigation into the theft of the eight-foot tall wood-carved PiraBillte from the Platte County High School lobby continues.

According to Dennis Trabue, detective for the police department, more than 10 individuals believed to be involved or who may have information pertaining to the theft of the Pirate have been interviewed by police.

The questioning, which began on March 26, will continue throughout the week.

"The investigation is ongoing and we're making arrangements to do more interviews to shed light on what happened," said Trabue.

"We have identified a couple of subjects who we believe had the opportunity to be involved in the theft," stated Trabue.

"We're hopeful we can bring this investigation to a successful conclusion by the end of the week and we are hopeful that the investigation will produce successful results."

Craig Robinson, high school principal, early Tuesday afternoon said it had been indicated to him that the Pirate had been located.

Later that same day, Police Chief Bill Massock told The Landmark that the Pirate is now back on school property.

"Apparently the school got a call and they (school personnel) went and retrieved it," Massock said.

Massock declined to say where the Pirate had been found, explaining it was necessary to keep that information confidential to protect the investigation.

Asked what kind of condition the carved structure is in, Massock said he has been led to believe "it is basically OK."

As exclusively reported in The Landmark last week, the 30-year-old Pirate, estimated to weigh between 700-1,000 pounds, was stolen sometime between 8:30 p.m., Saturday, March 23 and 10 a.m., Sunday, March 24.

Police say there were no signs of forced entry. The police department received a call from high school personnel reporting the theft at 10:18 a.m. on March 24.

"We haven't been able to determine who would've had the key in their possession, if that was the way of entry. That is still under investigation also," explained Det. Trabue.

Robinson, meanwhile, says school officials have policies on how building keys are distributed and those policies are being reviewed. He said keyholders are being reminded to keep their keys safely in their possession.

"We're not pointing fingers at anybody right now," the principal remarked.

While the means of entry remains under investigation, sources said that the gymnasium floor was damaged, with several gouges being made to the floor from the Pirate being dragged from the front lobby to a door at the back of the school.

Robinson downplayed the damage to the gym floor, saying the gouges in the floor "will come out" and indicated damage was minimal.

The Pirate is believed to have been carved by a Platte County R-3 art teacher nearly 30 years ago.

Massock said the incident is being treated as a criminal investigation. He said "it's way too early" to know whether charges will be filed in the case.