The fiberglass-and-metal spaceship was snatched March 19 from behind the museum, where it was being stored after being damaged by a snowstorm. The iconic piece decorated the corner of the International UFO Museum and Research Center for more than two decades and had just been repaired.
Seventeen-year-old Newman Seely was arrested at his home in south Roswell on Saturday morning in connection with the theft, according to an arrest report. Seely is charged with one felony count of larceny and one felony count of conspiracy, according to the report.
Video surveillance footage showed three individuals pulling up in a truck behind the museum about 3 a.m. In the footage, they load the flying saucer in the pickup truck bed — it barely fits — and drive off. The silver saucer was found smashed to pieces in a ditch alongside a road about two miles west of Roswell on Wednesday.
The case drew national attention for its headline-grabbing nature in a city well-known for rumors of flying saucers and alien iconography.
In 1947, an unidentified flying object reportedly crashed on a ranch northwest of Roswell and ignited decades of controversy and conspiracy theories about what the object really was. The crash would become known as the “Roswell Incident.”
Karen Jaramillo, the museum’s interim executive director, told the Journal last week that the flying saucer cost about $500 in the 1990s and was a “historical piece of our building.” She could not be reached Monday.
The arrested teen was booked Saturday into the Chaves County Juvenile Detention Center. Police said in a Facebook post that the teen “declined to say anything about the motive for the spaceship theft.”
“I don’t care for all this alien stuff here in Roswell, but this was just stupid,” a man identified as Marvin Myers said in a comment on the police Facebook post. “In a way, this was an assault on every person in Roswell.”