Independence man sentenced for stealing museum’s pioneer woman statue

06/12/2014 4:33 PM

06/12/2014 4:33 PM

An Independence man was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison for his role in stealing a bronze pioneer woman statue that belonged to the National Frontier Trails Museum.

Jeremy Ratliff, 37, pleaded guilty in April to felony property theft. The life-size statue, which stood outside the Independence museum for more than 20 years, vanished a year ago.

Another defendant, Randy V. Perez Jr., 30, previously was sentenced to seven years. Kelli L. Summers, 34, is to be sentenced Monday.

A Kansas City scrapyard called authorities after two men offered to sale them a bin of battered bronze.

Yard operators had noticed a blue cast some of it displayed, as well as a section that resembled human fingers. They later gave investigators a video of the encounter.

Glenn E. Rice, grice@kcstar.com

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