video an issue in Pirate probe
say they'll again check with school official to confirm
there's no evidence on tape
It's possible that tapes from security video cameras,
earlier discounted as being of any help in the case, may
yet play a role in the investigation into the theft of
the carved Pirate statue at Platte County High School,
Platte City police indicated this week.
In other new information related to the case, two school
board members this week spoke publicly about the incident.
In phone interviews Tuesday night with Carey Rolofson,
Platte County R-3 School Board president, and Lee Ann
Fadler, board vice president, The Landmark specifically
asked about security cameras in place near the entry to
the high school lobby, from where the carved Pirate statue
had been taken.
Rolofson and Fadler both indicated video cameras are
in place in the area. Rolofson said he believes three
cameras are in place near that front entrance. He said
two of the cameras point either direction down the hallway.
Though it would seem to be logical that the third camera
would point toward the door in the area where the Pirate
stood, Rolofson said he could not directly confirm that.
"That (the front lobby) would seem a logical place
for a camera," Fadler said.
Rolofson said Craig Robinson, high school principal,
would be the person to ask for specifics about camera
positioning and operation. A phone call to Robinson for
comment on Wednesday morning had been unreturned by press
Platte City Police Detective Dennis Trabue said police
were aware that the video cameras were in place.
"According to the principal, there were no cameras
that would've viewed the taking of the Pirate except the
one in the foyer area. The principal told us that they
didn't have video of the incident and we have taken their
word for it," Trabue said.
Should police have taken school officials' word for it
or should they have reviewed the tapes anyway?
"It's their equipment and their cameras. They said
there was no evidence on the camera to reveal any criminal
activity," Trabue said.
"What we were told initially (by Robinson) I believe
is accurate, but I will certainly call him to verify that
information," Trabue said Wednesday morning.
"We do know there was a tape in the camera and we
understand that it was taking pictures up to midnight
and after that it ceased to record. Why it stopped recording
is unknown to us," Trabue added.
The detective explained that Robinson told police that
the camera was set to record for eight hours instead of
12 hours as usual.
Authorities believe the Pirate was dragged from its usual
location into the gym and out a rear entrance. This would
seem to indicate that for a short time the cameras pointing
down the hallways would have been able to capture the
The eight-foot tall, 700 to 1,000 pound wood-carved Pirate
was stolen from the high school lobby between 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 23 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday, March 24.
Police say there were no signs of forced entry.
Sources stated the gym floor was gouged when the Pirate
was dragged from the lobby to the rear door. The Pirate
was reportedly retrieved by school personnel several days
later after being discovered at an undisclosed location.
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.
Both Rolofson and Fadler said the school is relying on
police to do the investigation. School officials are not
conducting their own probe into the matter, they said.
"Once the police start their investigation, we really
should let the police do the investigation," Rolofson
"My understanding is that Mr. Robinson did make
some inquiries on his own but felt since the Pirate was
taken out of the confines of the school, the police should
handle it," Fadler said.
She said Robinson had given school board members a report
on the matter when the board held its reorganizational
meeting after the election in the first week of April.
"Since then the superintendent has updated us on
anything the police have been able to find out,"
"Certainly we'd like to know what happened and how
our security was breached at the high school," she
Responding to unconfirmed reports that athletes from
the school may have been involved in the incident, Fadler
"It's a concern, certainly, but we have to be respectful
of everybody's rights in this case."
Rolofson said that if the perpetrators are identified
and are proven to be R-3 students, he is satisfied that
the district has policies in place "for administrators
to handle situations like this."
He countered the perception that athletes at the school
are treated any differently than other students.
"That's a perception that exists everywhere, at
universities and at other schools. I don't think that's
a new public perception anywhere," Rolofson said.
"I can't think of a case here where we've done anything
differently based on who the student was," he added.