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Why did it have to be a lawyer?

//October 21, 2014

Why did it have to be a lawyer?

//October 21, 2014

Jokes about lawyers and sharks go back a long way.

But not as far back as the ancient shark tooth that a 62-year-old Chapel Hill woman is accused of stealing from the state Maritime Museum in Southport.

That woman, Alison Erca, happens to be a lawyer.

She received her law degree from Golden Gate University in San Francisco and went to Ohio University for her undergrad, according to the State Bar of California. She was admitted to the California bar in 1983 and was placed on inactive status there when she began practicing in North Carolina in 1991.

She had a Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating of 4.4 out of 5, which means she “meets very high criteria of general ethical standards,” and no public disciplinary records in California or North Carolina.

Erca was arrested last week when she allegedly tried to return a stolen Megalodon tooth by tossing it into a bush at the Maritime Museum, according to the Wilmington Star-News, which first reported the story.

Apparently, Erca had a change of heart after police released some still images from the surveillance video footage of the theft, which showed a woman taking the tooth from the top of a glass display case then stuffing it into the waistband of her pants.

The museum had left the 7-inch-long tooth out for visitors, particularly children, to handle. Now, the curator says the tooth will remain on display but will have to be locked out of reach.

This is why Southport can’t have nice things.

Erca was arrested on a charge of felony larceny and held on $10,000 bail. Depending on their condition and size, Megalodon teeth are sold for less than $100 to more than $1,000.

A woman who answered the phone at the number listed for Erca on the state bar directory said Erca was “semi-retired” from the legal profession.


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