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May 1, 2014

Man pleads guilty in theft of Independence statue

An Independence man has pleaded guilty for his role in the theft of a 6-foot bronze statue from a museum.

An Independence man has pleaded guilty for his role in the theft of a 6-foot bronze statue from a museum.

Jeremy Ratliff, 37, will be sentenced June 13 after pleading guilty this month to felony stealing. He was one of three men charged in the June 2013 theft of the Pioneer Woman statue from the National Frontier Trails Museum.

One of the men has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

The life-sized statue of a woman with a baby in one arm and a bucket in the other weighed 1,000 pounds.

A Kansas City scrapyard, responding to an Independence police email alert, contacted authorities after two men offered to sale them a bin of battered bronze.

Yard operators had declined to purchase the metal after noticing the blue cast some of it displayed, as well as a section that resembled human fingers. They later provided investigators a video of the encounter.

| The Associated Press

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