SALT LAKE CITY – The Elizabeth Smart investigation is now centering on a tan golf cap taken out of potential suspect Richard Albert Ricci's father-in-law's home by investigators, Fox News has learned.
The cap is in the custody of police and FBI investigators. The investigators are asking around the greenhouse where Ricci worked if employees saw him wearing it — and they're asking convenience stores near Ricci's home to check their video surveillance cameras in case Ricci stepped in wearing the cap.
Investigators are also looking into how the mileage on Ricci's jeep increased about 1,000 miles between May 30 and June 8. They've ruled out a machete agents took from the Ricci's father-in-law's shed after the state crime lab said there was nothing on it to tie it to the investigation.
The father-in-law said Thursday the FBI took the machete and a hat similar to the one the girl's sister said the abductor was wearing from his home.
Dave Morse Sr., 68, said that FBI took one of two Scottish-style golf hats from his home. He said both hats had remained in his home and were never loaned to his son-in-law.
Police have described the girl's abductor as wearing a similar hat.
Ricci, 48, worked at the Smart home as a handyman more than a year ago. He hasn't been charged in the Smart case.
The FBI also took a machete-like knife with a foot-long blade from his shed. Morse said he uses the knife to knock limbs off trees. He said it was always locked in the shed, and Ricci didn't have a key.
The teen was taken from her home in the early hours June 5.
"I think they're grasping at straws," Morse said. "There's always a chance, but I don't think he did it."
Ricci's lawyer, David K. Smith, told The Associated Press he could neither confirm nor deny the report.
"So many comments by the police are suggesting they are focusing in on him directly. I'm convinced they're trying to focus on him as their primary suspect," Smith said.
The Smart family would not comment about the report.
Police also weren't talking about the hat or knife.
"I can't tell even if it happened. If it did happen, then I would be talking about evidence. And I can't talk about evidence," said Salt Lake Police Capt. Scott Atkinson. "If there were a knife, I don't think it would be significant. I can't say why."
Also Thursday, a federal grand jury met for a second day to question people who may have knowledge of the abduction.
One of the witnesses, Neth K. Moul of West Valley City, told The Associated Press on Thursday that he testified about seeing Ricci on June 8, three days after the abduction.
Moul, a mechanic, said Ricci brought his 1990 Jeep Cherokee into his shop on May 30 for work.
On June 8, Moul said, Ricci returned the Jeep to the shop for more work. Moul noticed that since May 30, around 1,000 more miles were on the car's odometer.
Moul said Ricci folded up the covers that had been on the vehicle's seats and put them in a plastic bag. "He tied it," Moul said. "There was something already in there because the bag was full.
"He told me he had a friend waiting across the street," Moul said. "There is a gas station. He walked toward the gas station."
That was the last Moul saw of Ricci, who never came back to pick up the Jeep. The FBI contacted him, and soon two or three FBI agents and detectives from Salt Lake City arrived to take the car. Moul, whose story was scheduled to be part of ABC's Primetime Thursday program, said he wasn't sure when authorities took the car, but thought it was about a week ago.
Police on Tuesday handed out fliers with pictures of three cars Ricci has driven, including the white Cherokee. Ed Smart, Elizabeth's father, gave Ricci the car in exchange for some handyman work last year.
Also subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury was Andy Thurber, Ricci's neighbor. He had been subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury on Wednesday, but told reporters he hadn't taken the stand.
Thurber told The Associated Press that he spoke to Ricci on the morning the girl disappeared. "He said he would get questioned," Thurber said.
Ricci has spent 29 years in and out of prison on burglary, attempted homicide, armed robbery and other convictions.
He apparently had not been subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury or otherwise called away from the Utah State Prison, where he is being held on an unrelated parole violation.
"He is in there and waiting for his attorney," prison spokesman Jack Ford said Thursday.
Ricci's wife has said her husband was asleep in bed on the night Elizabeth was kidnapped. Investigators have said they aren't satisfied with his alibi.
Ed Smart, Elizabeth's father, said he never would have employed Ricci had he known of his criminal history.
"He seemed to be fairly competent," Smart said. "He seemed nice enough."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.