Museum director: Theft was ‘sad’

Published 6:49 pm Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The theft of more than $3,500 of tools from the Pioneer Museum of Alabama is a “sad” statement, says the museum director.

James Edward Elkins, 55, and Phyllis Bailey, 47, both of Troy, were arrested Monday and charged with theft of property first degree.

They are charged with stealing more than $3,500 worth of tools from the museum on Monday, including nail guns, a drill, an air hose and two cases containing up to 200 tools each.

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The theft was reported to the Troy Police Department at around 5 p.m. Monday. Museum officials believe the theft occurred around 3 p.m. that day.

“Right now the police are going through and doing their investigation,” said Rachael Greve, executive director. “It’s unfortunate and it’s sad that people would want to disrespect such a treasure and jewel as our museum. There aren’t many museums like us in the state, or in the South for that matter in that we are a living history village.”

Greve said the tools were stolen from an area under renovation. “We have 22 historic properties and as people donate properties, we have to come through, preserve and renovate them,” Greve said. “The theft was in regard to one of those construction projects.”

Greve said there was minimal damage to the museum and no one was harmed.

“We feel like there is a small silver lining,” Greve said. “We are hoping that we will be able to recoup all of the stolen power tools and move on from there.”

Greve said extra safety precautions have been implemented as a result. “The museum has tightened security measures and we are working very cooperatively with the Troy Police. We are so appreciative of the way they have handled everything.”

Greve said the situation is “delicate” and looks forward to a speedy resolution to be reached from the police investigation.

“The Troy Police have handled everything with expertise and has really turned a bad situation into a situation that is a little more tolerable,” Greve said. “We really feel like we steward Pike County and Alabama’s cultural heritage. And it is disappointing that someone would take advantage of that and disrespect us in this way, but we’re moving on.”