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Lock picker indicted in Love Locket vandalism

A professional lock picker and reserve police officer from Indiana has been indicted on a felony grand larceny charge for vandalism of the Love Locket at Container Park, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Kelly Alwood, whose Facebook, Twitter, YouTube pages and personal website show him picking locks and carrying knives, machine guns, sniper rifles and pistols with silencers, is one of three men authorities said defaced the downtown Las Vegas art project.

Alwood and the two other men, who have not been identified or charged, were captured on video dismantling the sculpture for 30 to 45 minutes just after midnight Jan. 21, according to prosecutor John Giordani.

The 42-year-old Alwood is scheduled to appear in District Court early next month. He also faces charges of conspiracy to commit grand larceny and conspiracy to prevent or dissuade a witness from testifying or producing evidence, both gross misdemeanors.

Within two days of the incident, a woman staying with Alwood while he was in Las Vegas called police after she recognized him and his truck on surveillance video that captured the vandalism and was presented to local media outlets, authorities said.

Alwood and his girlfriend, 43-year-old Michelle Rece, discovered that the woman contacted Metro and tried to persuade her not to say anything, authorities said.

The Love Locket, dedicated to the revitalization of downtown Las Vegas, is an interactive, metal heart-shaped sculpture that allows people to attach locks and other pieces of metal displaying their hopes, dreams and loves, Downtown Project officials said at the time of the vandalism.

The sculpture is kept in front of Container Park, 707 Fremont St., where early arriving employees noticed its damage and missing piece.

The piece was created by artist Nova May for the first Life is Beautiful festival in 2013. It signifies the growth of downtown and symbolizes the love put into the Downtown Project by people who live and work there and helped revitalize the area.

A metal grate was been put in place of the missing piece.

Prosecutors believe Rece, who was named in the indictment but not charged, was aware of the vandalism, but did not participate.

When police contacted Alwood about the vandalism, he denied his involvement but said he knew the culprits, according to prosecutors.

Detectives told him that if he could retrieve the stolen section of the artwork, charges would be dropped. He responded by asking for a “letter of pardon,” authorities said.

The piece has not been recovered.

On his Facebook page, Alwood is listed as the owner of Alwood Lock Sport ALS, which touts “lock picking, behavioral programming, covert entry, and consumer protection.”

He also has a rifle named after him.

Gun manufacturer JP Enterprises also named “The Kelly Alwood “Gladiator” rifle after him. It sells for $2,049.

One of his YouTube videos shows him picking handcuffs with the sound of gunfire in the distance.

Alwood’s personal website states “I’d rather be water boarding” and vaguely references military experience.

“I’ve had the honor of serving in combat with some of Americas most elite warriors, the best men that we can throw in the game,” he wrote. “Post combat operations OCONUS (outside the contiguous United States), I now join other qualified men in the industry to do my part in making Americans safer, by providing education, training and consulting.”

Neither Alwood nor his lawyer, Benjamin Durham, could be reached for comment Wednesday.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Find @randompoker on Twitter.

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