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Second suspect in thefts from museum reports to authorities

Apr 24, 2014 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Nine days after prosecutors filed charges against him, Joseph E. Spriggs turned himself in Wednesday afternoon to the Fremont County Sheriff's office in Riverton. Investigators believe he helped his former boss steal materials from the Pioneer Museum in Lander in 2012.

A warrant was out for his arrest related to one count of accessory before the fact to larceny by bailee. Charging documents allege between June 1, 2012 and Aug. 22, 2012, Spriggs helped the Pioneer Museum's director at the time, Carol J. Thiesse, steal property entrusted to her care.

He could serve up to 10 years in prison and pay a $10,000 fine if convicted.

The Hot Springs County Sheriff's Office arrested Thiesse on April 16 at her residence near Thermopolis.

She was the director of the county-owned Pioneer Museum from October 2008 until the Fremont County Museums Board of Trustees fired her on Aug. 22, 2012. Spriggs resigned the same day.

On Aug. 23, 2012, Pioneer Museum staff found 99 interpretative displays, 39 pictures and nine signs, with a total value of $29,000, were missing, according to an affidavit in the case. All of the electronic documents that had been on the museum's computer system also had disappeared.

Prosecutors think Thiesse stole the materials and destroyed the files with Spriggs's help.

Nothing in the case documents indicates any museum artifacts were stolen.

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