Joplin pair charged with stealing George Washington portrait

Monday, December 7, 2009 | 8:21 a.m. CST; updated 9:17 a.m. CST, Monday, December 7, 2009

BUTLER — A Joplin man and woman have been charged with stealing a picture of George Washington that hung outside the Bates County prosecutor's office.

Twenty-six-year-old Simon M. Williams and 21-year-old Jennifer M. Benitez are each charged with felony stealing after allegedly taking the picture from the Bates County Courthouse in Butler.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office said Williams wanted to show his friends something from his visit to the courthouse.

A woman arriving for work Wednesday told police she saw Williams run out of the courthouse with the picture. She said Benitez followed him and they drove away.

After the two were questioned, the picture was found and returned to its spot on the wall with little damage.

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