Police recover Remington ring stolen from museumhttp://acn.liveauctioneers.com/index.php/features/crime-and-litigation/4793-police-recover-remington-ring-stolen-from-museum
Antique thief contrite
REMINGTON RING: Man twice tried to return it, LaVarnway says
OGDENSBURG — The man accused of stealing an antique gold ring from the Frederic Remington Art Museum last month tried twice to return it before he was arrested on Monday, according to Edward A. LaVarnway, museum executive director.
Blake R. Peabody, 24, of 814 S. Water St., a former part-time maintenance employee at the 303 Washington St. museum, allegedly stole the single-carat, 19th-century ring May 27. On two occasions a week later, while at work June 2 and 3, he attempted to put it back in the same glass display case from which it was removed, Mr. LaVarnway said.
Mr. Peabody is facing a charge of felony fourth-degree grand larceny.
Mr. LaVarnway said Tuesday that Mr. Peabody told him of his attempts to return the ring and his motivation for doing so.
"He told me after he took the ring that he'd made a big mistake," Mr. LaVarnway said. "He was very remorseful."
The ring was reported missing June 6. The next day, Mr. Peabody was fired from his St. Lawrence County Department of Social Services Workfare program-arranged job after working at the museum for a month. Mr. LaVarnway said the dismissal was for missing too many days of work, not suspicion over the stolen ring.
Why Mr. Peabody was unable to put the ring back into the display case may have been a matter of ill timing. His working hours were 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and, according to Mr. LaVarnway, one of his chores was cleaning the display cases.
Mr. LaVarnway said he thought Mr. Peabody never managed to find time enough alone to put the ring back.
The ring was recovered at Mr. Peabody's home Friday when Ogdensburg police went there, and he confessed to taking it. But more time passed until he was charged because Laura A. Foster, museum curator, was not available to officially identify the ring until Monday morning. Mr. Peabody was arrested an hour after its identity was confirmed.
Mr. LaVarnway said Tuesday that Ogdensburg Police Detective Sgt. Harry J. McCarthy brought the ring to him at the museum Friday. But, without the benefit of a file photograph of it for verification, the executive director was uncomfortable about making a positive identification.
"I couldn't officially identify it," Mr. LaVarnway said. "We needed a curator to do that."
Mr. McCarthy said Tuesday that no arrest was possible until the ring was officially identified. He also said police didn't believe Mr. Peabody was a flight risk.
"He was cooperative," Mr. McCarthy said. "He has three small kids."
On Monday, Mr. Peabody pleaded not guilty in City Court before Judge William R. Small and was released to the supervision of probation. He will be back in court June 21 and will be represented by the St. Lawrence County public defender's office.
Police have the ring and will return it to the museum after Mr. Peabody's legal counsel with the public defender's office has an opportunity to have it appraised. Police have given it a minimum retail value of $2,200. The museum regards it as invaluable because of its having been purchased in 1884 by the late sculptor and illustrator Frederic S. Remington as an engagement ring for his wife, Eva.