say school security tape 'ran out'
The case of the eight-foot-tall, 700-1,000 pound stolen
wood-carved Pirate, which has been the object of much
speculation and many questions over the past month and
a half, is still a top priority for the Platte City Police
Department, according to Detective Dennis Trabue.
Police this week seem more optimistic than a couple of
weeks ago, when Trabue had indicated the case was headed
for inactive status.
"It's still an open case and will remain so. It's
one of those cases where we're still looking and not giving
up on this," stated Trabue.
"We still have the same names and the same suspects.
They know who they are and we know who they are."
While Trabue didn't want to divulge a specific number
of suspects, he did state that the exact number of individuals
involved may be greater than the key players believed
to be known.
"We have a specific number of people in mind who
may have been key players, but we don't want to put a
cap on the number of people who may have been involved."
Trabue stated it was confirmed by police this week that
video from the security cameras in the high school didn't
show any criminal activity.
According to Trabue, Platte County R-3 High School Principal
Craig Robinson reported that the security camera's recording
device malfunctioned at 12:20 a.m. on Sunday, March 24.
"We were able to confirm that there is only one
recording device, and that one recording device records
for all the cameras in the school. If the recording device
malfunctions it doesn't capture any of the images from
the cameras," said Trabue.
Trabue continued that the timer on the recording device
showed that it ceased recording at about 12:20 a.m.
"The reason it quit recording is because it got
to the end of the tape," said Trabue. "The machine
is designed to record for a certain length of time. When
the principal left, he made sure the tape was on and to
his recollection it was turned on like normal, which has
been a normal procedure for him for several years."
According to Trabue, a Platte City police officer, principal
Craig Robinson and the vice-principal reviewed the tapes
from the evening of the theft and determined there was
nothing on the tapes prior to 12:20 a.m. to show any criminal
Trabue acknowledged the recording device may have been
tampered with. The technician who installed the device
was called in to check its operation, and reported that
the machine was working properly.
With the new information from the timer on the recording
device, the police department has narrowed the time frame
of the crime from 12:20 a.m., Sunday, March 24 to 10:30
a.m., Sunday, March 24. Previously the estimated time
frame of the crime was between 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March
23 to 10:30 a.m., Sunday, March 24.
According to Trabue, because police haven't found any
sign of forced entry, it seems likely entry was gained
with a key or by a door to the school being left open
"According to school administrators, the doors were
locked and secured when they left, which leads us to believe
the suspects gained access by a key," stated Trabue.
"If access to the school was gained by a key, that
is considered unlawful entry."
Trabue further explained that any other crimewhether
it be theft or property damage that occurred following
the entry of the premisesis considered burglary
by law enforcement officials.
The maximum punishment in a case such as the Pilfered
Pirate could be punishable by up to seven years in jail,
to be determined by a judge and jury.
"In a case like this where property damage occurred,
the prosecutor could make a recommendation where those
responsible could make restitution for the property damage,"
Damage was sustained to the Pirate with chips in the
wood and the knob broken off the Pirate's staff, as well
as gouges made in the gym floor when the Pirate was apparently
dragged from the lobby to a rear door in the school.
"Due to the type of material that the Pirate is
made of, fingerprints weren't easily recovered,"
"We're hanging in there for information from the
right person and I feel like it'll happen and someone
will come forward and give us the right information we
need," said Trabue.
The Pirate was reportedly retrieved by school personnel
several days after being taken from the high school lobby.
Authorities are not saying where it was recovered.
The statue was believed to have been carved around 1974
by John Faust, an art teacher at the high school, with
the help of some students.