Crime Scene

This is a blog dedicated to the general topic of crime and crime prevention in Alaska. We will post crime-related stories and other relevant items as we come across them. The Daily News encourages community engagement and discussion of issues of crime and criminal justice. Comments are not edited and will be posted immediately. We know that stories about crime often provoke strong reactions, but we insist that you keep your comments on point, use good taste and show courtesy toward other writers. Posts that violate the Terms of Use will be deleted, and repeat offenders will be banned from When presenting factual information, take care that it is accurate and cite and/or link to sources where appropriate.

Omnipresent police spokesman Dave Parker calling it quits - 11/12/2012 5:35 pm

Officers 'shoot to stop,' not 'shoot to kill,' police say - 7/10/2012 12:46 pm

This week in the Unalaska police blotter: We found your beer can & wallet - 6/13/2012 11:37 am

Q&A: Police shoot, kill man in Mountain View - 6/12/2012 10:33 pm

Police: Woman threw gas on roommate in arson killing - 6/9/2012 10:46 pm

Side character takes center stage in militia trial - 6/7/2012 1:37 pm

Cox gets choked up over evidence tape, returns to stand - 6/6/2012 1:32 pm

Man punches wife, shoots his SUV, goes to jail - 6/6/2012 12:37 pm

Neighbor accused of slashing to death 67-year-old woman in Midtown

From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --

11:30 A.M. UPDATE:

Police say Vernell Mclemore was carrying a knife when he knocked on his next-door neighbor's door in early February. The 41-year-old robbed the older woman of fewer than $50 and slashed her throat, said a detective who investigated the case.

Mclemore was arrested Thursday at Golden Corral restaurant on an unrelated charge of a violating restraining order, said Det. John Foraker. Police subsequently spoke to him about the killing of 67-year-old Judy Mulder and arrested him at police headquarters for that crime.

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Coast Guard says 2 dead in shooting at station on Kodiak Island

12:45 p.m. UPDATE:

Read our updated story on the shootings here.
We'll add more details as we learn more.

Here is the full statement from the U.S. Coast Guard today on the shootings:

Coast Guard investigating 2 fatalities at Communications Station Kodiak

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Wanted: Police ask for help finding domestic violence suspect

Police say they are searching for Kevin Richard Arnold, 31, following a domestic violence attack in February. Police are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 561-7867.Police say they are searching for Kevin Richard Arnold, 31, following a domestic violence attack in February. Police are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 561-7867.

From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --

This today from Anchorage police:

Police Seek Public’s Assistance in Locating Wanted Subject

Anchorage Police are looking for Kevin Richard Arnold and need the public’s assistance in locating him.

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FBI seizes outbuilding from Keyes home

From Casey Grove in Anchorage--

Saturday update: See videos from last night's FBI action at the bottom of the post.

Original story:

Federal agents tonight seized a shed from the Turnagain home of Israel Keyes, the man police linked to the abduction of Samantha Koenig.

Keyes, 34, is a self-employed carpenter who police say was directly involved in Koenig's disappearance Feb. 1. He was arrested in Texas for ATM fraud March 13 and caught with a stolen debit card and rolls of money, according to an FBI agent's affidavit. Police searched Keyes' home on Spurr Lane in Turnagain the day he was arrested.

Police, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office have refused to say how Keyes is connected to Koenig's abduction. She remains missing.

Keyes pleaded not guilty Tuesday to one count of access device fraud.

A man participating in the Friday night seizure at Spurr Lane, a dead-end street off of Clay Products Drive near West Northern Lights Boulevard, confirmed the dozen or so plainclothes men and women there were with the FBI. He declined to comment further, and the FBI personnel did not respond to questions.

Neighbors said about 10 p.m. a flatbed truck pulled in front of the house. Men unloaded a forklift from the back of the truck and went to work shoveling snow off what looked to be a roughly 6-foot by 8-foot metal shed with green trim.

Later, reporters watched as a forklift operator picked up the shed and backed slowly out of the short driveway while men held the shed steady. At one point, a woman inside the house where police say Keyes lived poked her head out to quiet a barking dog. Lights were on in the blue house and blinds covered all its windows.

The forklift operator carefully loaded the shed on the truck, and after blocking the base and strapping it down, the truck backed out of Spurr Lane and drove to the FBI's headquarters in downtown Anchorage.

FBI spokesman Eric Gonzalez would not say if the shed was related to either the investigation of Keyes' alleged debit card fraud or the investigation of Koenig's disappearance.

"We're still investigating," Gonzalez said.

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Police: Standoff closes Eagle River Road

Eagle River standoff locatorEagle River standoff locator
From Michelle Theriault Boots in Anchorage --

12:15 p.m. UPDATE:

A standoff between police and a suicidal man with a gun that closed Eagle River Road Friday morning has been resolved peacefully and the man has been taken into custody unharmed, an Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman said.

Police took custody of the man at around noon, said Anita Shell of the APD. Eagle River Road is now open.

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Two charged in pickup theft, 'numerous' vehicle break-ins

From Casey Grove in Anchorage --

Anchorage police say a young man and his juvenile accomplice are charged with stealing a pickup and an attached trailer early this morning in the 6900 block of Arctic Boulevard. Officers later discovered the pair had stolen items from several other vehicles in the area, police said in a written statement.

Devontay Gordon, 19, and a 17-year-old male face charges of vehicle theft and criminal mischief, said police, who are now looking for anyone else who's belongings may have been pilfered nearby.

Here's the press release a police spokeswoman sent to reporters this morning:

Subject: Two Arrested for Numerous Vehicle Break-ins and Vehicle Theft
APD Case: 12-8924

Two subjects were arrested early this morning following the theft of a vehicle near 70th Avenue and Raspberry Road.

At just before 4:00 a.m. this morning, an employee at Halliburton Energy Services, located at the 6900 block of Arctic Boulevard, called 911 to report the theft of a pick-up truck and 24’ trailer. The employee indicated he had just started the vehicle and was allowing it to warm up. Within minutes, he noticed the vehicle being driven away by unknown persons. The employee got into another vehicle and began pursuing the stolen truck and trailer but lost sight of it before finding it abandoned in the area of Eielson Street and West International Airport Road. Officers quickly set up a perimeter and began searching for the suspects.

K9 Officer Lonnie Brown and K9 Marshall began a track of the suspects from where the vehicle was abandoned. Along their track, they recovered several pieces of property to include a wallet, eyeglasses and a lanyard with keys on it. While the track was in progress, another officer observed two suspicious subjects behind a strip mall near Arctic Boulevard and West International Airport Road. The officer stopped the two subjects and began questioning them. The two subjects had what appeared to be matching shoeprints of those left behind at the abandoned stolen vehicle. While questioning the subjects, the K9 track led directly to the two subjects officers were speaking to.

In addition, while officers were searching the area around where the original vehicle theft occurred, they found several vehicles in the neighboring area that appeared to have been broken into or tampered with. While searching one of the suspects, officers found a credit card not belonging to either individual and it was determined it had been stolen from a parked vehicle prior to the duo stealing the pick-up truck.

Devontay Gordon, 19 of Anchorage, was arrested and charged with 1 count of second degree theft, 1 count of fourth degree criminal mischief, 1 count of fifth degree criminal mischief (riding in a stolen vehicle), 5 counts of fifth degree criminal mischief (tampering with property) and one count of fourth degree misconduct involving weapons. He was remanded to the Anchorage Jail with his bail set at $2,500 cash/corporate plus third party custodian. Gordon will be arraigned today in Anchorage Jail Court at 2:30 p.m.

The second suspect arrested is a 17-year-old juvenile. He was charged with 1 count of fifth degree criminal mischief and 1 count of first degree vehicle theft. He was remanded to McLaughlin Youth Center.

Anchorage Police encourage residents to keep their vehicles locked at all times and to NEVER leave anything of value in their vehicles. Residents living in the area of 70th Avenue and Arctic Boulevard as far south as 75th Avenue are asked to call the Records Section of the Anchorage Police Department as 786-8600 to file a report if they believe their vehicle may have been broken into.

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Police: Pair attacked incapacitated women in Spenard hotel

From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --

This today from Anchorage police on a pair of unrelated sexual assault cases over the weekend. In the first case, two friends are accused of attacking incapacitated women they'd been drinking with at a Spenard hotel room. The second case involves a woman assaulted by a man who had been drinking with her roommate, police say.

Subject: Three Sexual Assault Suspects

Anchorage Police Department Special Victims Unit detectives affected the arrest of 3 suspects in 2 sexual assault cases over the weekend.

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Police searching for Hillside burglary suspect

From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --

Live on the Anchorage Hillside? Wondering why the police are in the neighborhood this morning?

APD spokesman Lt. David Parker says officers are hunting for an attempted-burglary suspect after detaining two additional suspects earlier this morning.

The investigation began shortly after 8 a.m. with reports of suspicious activity in the area, Parker said. “We have quite a few units up there, including K-9s."

Check back for details later today.


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Police investigate officer's poor driving, as seen on YouTube

From Casey Grove in Anchorage --

Anchorage police have initiated an internal investigation of an officer's sloppy driving Tuesday night after an Eagle River resident's complaint, sent to police and local news media.

David Moore's criticism came by email with a link to a YouTube video shot by his wife, Jessica, on their drive from Anchorage to Eagle River about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday. They make the same drive just about every night, he said in a phone interview.

It started on the Glenn Highway.

Moore said he watched the officer making sudden lane changes, slowing and speeding up for no apparent reason, and cutting off a pickup just before the Hiland Road exit. After the exit, the officer appeared to be glancing at the laptop mounted in his car, Moore said.

As they continued on Eagle River Loop Road, Moore told his wife to grab his iPhone and start recording.

Here's the video, with Moore's comments:

In the video, Moore pulls up next to the officer's patrol car. He says the officer was eating, though that's not clear from the footage.

"I could see him eating something, and actually chewing," Moore said in the interview. "I don’t know what he was eating. He had something.”

The patrol car then almost hit Moore's vehicle, Moore said.

Police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker said the video and complaint are under investigation by the police department's Internal Affairs unit, which looks into all complaints, everything from rudeness to poor driving, Parker said.

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Father of abducted barista: "Send my daughter home"

We've posted an updated version of this story on our homepage.

From Casey Grove and Kyle Hopkins --

James Koenig, father of missing 18-year-old barista Samantha Koenig, talks with reporters today in Anchorage:

“I want to ask for her captors, that they would please send my daughter home," Koenig said. "I will give you anything in this world."

Koenig is offering a $12,500 reward for his daughter's safe return. Donations to the reward fund can be made at Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union, Koenig said.

Security camera footage shows Samantha being abducted by an armed man Wednesday night from a Midtown coffee stand, police say.

“I don’t know if my daughter’s fed. Being taken care of. If she’s still alive," her father said.

Video by Casey Grove, Anchorage Daily News.

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Police investigate suspicious death in South Anchorage

From Kyle Hopkins and Casey Grove in Anchorage --


Anchorage police identified the man who died this morning under "suspicious circumstances" as 50-year-old Raymond Sais.

Police say more information will be released as it becomes available.

Original post:

Anchorage homicide detectives are investigating a suspicious death discovered early this morning at a South Anchorage mobile home, the police department says.

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Scammers target Anchorage hotel guests, police say

Anchorage police are warning today of a phone scam targeting hotel guests. Here's the announcement sent to reporters:

Hotel Credit Card Phone Scam

The Anchorage Police Department has received 2 complaints regarding a new scam which targets hotel guests. The scammer calls a hotel guest and tells the guest that there was a problem running his credit card number when checking into the hotel. The scammer then asks for the guest’s credit card information over the phone. Obviously the scammer just wants the information to use to run up charges on the victim’s credit card bill.

One potential victim got a call from his credit card company on his cell phone while he was speaking to the “manager” on the hotel phone. The credit card company asked if at that moment he was trying to purchase groceries in Buffalo, NY. The scam didn’t work that time but there may be other victims out there who need to contact police.

The public is urged to never give out personal information to anyone with whom you have not personally initiated contact and of whose identity you are not certain.

If you get suspicious message such as this, check it out with the hotel personnel face to face. Travelers especially need to be wary and keep an eye on their credit card statements.

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Woman cited for radio abuse

From Kyle Hopkins and Casey Grove –

A Selawik woman faces disorderly conduct charges for ranting and playing music last night over the VHF radio, troopers say.

The report:

Location: Selawik
Type: Disorderly Conduct:

At approximately 2130 hours on 1-5-12, Florence Mitchell (50) of Selawik was reported by numerous villagers that she was using the local VHF village radio ranting, cursing and playing music not appropriate for children in the village to be exposed to having to listen to for almost two hours.
She was contacted by the Village Police and troopers at her residence and subsequently discovered to be intoxicated from consumption of homebrew. Three young children were inside the home and were taken to a family nearby for the night. Mitchell was charged with disorderly conduct. Alcohol was a factor.

In many villages, VHFs are as common as phones and a must-have communications tool for tracking everything from search-and-rescue efforts to school activities.

But inappropriate music?

We called the Selawik store, where a resident said the woman had been intoxicated, missing her dead grandparents and playing Hank Williams, who reminded her of them.

Troopers later clarified that the music selection included "rap music laced with vulgar language." That's according to an email from agency spokeswoman Beth Ipsen.

"(Mitchell) would also get on the radio and talk about a dead family member, use obscenities and call people names," Ipsen wrote. "She did this on and off for about two hours. Numerous people complained about it. She was cited and the radio was seized. This is not the first time someone has been cited for this in Selawik for doing this."

While Selawik has, at times, had little or no police presence, Trooper Capt. Barry Wilson said the state this year is planning to station two troopers in the village to help with law enforcement in the region.

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Man wanted in handyman, apartment-rental scams captured

Kyle Dwiggins, who was being sought by police for allegedly bilking victims out of some $130,000 in two separate scams , was taken into custody in a Midtown parking lot Thursday night, police reported this morning.

Dwiggins, the 26-year-old owner of a company called Sooner Repairs, is accused of failing to complete home-repair work for which he'd been paid and for stealing rental deposits for an apartment that wasn't his.

Here's a statement issued this morning by Anchorage police:

On December 22, 2011, at about 9:15 p.m., Kyle Dwiggins was taken into custody without incident in the parking lot of a strip mall located at 510 West Tudor Road by members of the U.S. Marshals Task Force. His capture ended a week-long manhunt for Dwiggins who was wanted on multiple charges of theft and scheme to defraud.

During the summer of 2011, Dwiggins had developed a flyer under the business name of Sooner Repairs and claimed to be licensed, bonded and insured to do home remodeling projects. Dwiggins would provide bids to his victims and would require a down payment of 50% for the project in order to obtain supplies. Dwiggins would either not show up for the job or would begin a project and not return to finish it. Dwiggins managed to defraud at least 15 victims in this incident.

Dwiggins was also involved in a second scam where he posted his apartment, which he was preparing to move out of, for rent on Craigslist. He showed the apartment to six people and collected first months’ rent and a security deposit from each of these victims. It is estimated that Dwiggins scammed approximately $130,000 in total from his 21 victims.

Dwiggins was booked into the Anchorage Jail with bail set at $40,000 plus third party custodian.

The United States Marshals Task Force is a joint task force that apprehends fugitives in Alaska. It is made up of members from the U.S. Marshals Service, Alaska State Troopers and the Anchorage Police Department.

Kyle Dwiggins (Anchorage Police Department)Kyle Dwiggins (Anchorage Police Department)

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Mountain Village: Three wounded in reported stabbing

From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --

A reported stabbing Sunday in the Lower Yukon River community of Mountain Village left three people wounded and investigators searching for answers, troopers say.

All three people involved in the knife attack were “highly intoxicated” from drinking homebrew, troopers say. A ground storm and high winds delayed troopers, who were unable to arrive in the village and investigate until a day after the assault was reported.

It's unclear how long the trio's wounds went untreated.

Troopers have released few details about the attack, first reported 6 p.m. Sunday. No one involved has been publicly identified. Troopers say all three live in the same household.

“We know there are three wounded, but we don’t know who the aggressor is,” said trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen.

Two of the people involved in the melee were flown to Bethel Monday for treatment, troopers say.

A woman who answered the phone number listed for the Mountain Village police department said there was no public safety department and referred questions to troopers. Calls to the trooper post in nearby Saint Mary's went unanswered.

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Robbery: Two charged with manslaughter after victim shoots their accomplices, police say

From Kyle Hopkins and Casey Grove in Anchorage --

An alleged robber and getaway driver are now charged with manslaughter after a homeowner killed their accomplices, police say.

The trouble began Nov. 10, when three people entered a trailer on the 700 block of Muldoon Road, demanding money and drugs, according to police. The man inside shot and killed two of the 19-year-old robbers, police say.

Now the alleged accomplices of the two men shot and killed face charges for both the robbery and the deaths. The robbers believed there was a marijuana grow at the trailer, the indictment says.

Read the charges here.

An Anchorage grand jury on Thursday indicted Brian Albert Pfister, 18, and Ursula Evelyn Roberta Pico, 21, for:

-- Two counts of manslaughter
-- First-degree robbery
-- Conspiracy to commit robbery
-- First-degree burglary

Police say Pfister was the robber who escaped when his partners were killed. Pico drove the getaway car, police say. She also is charged with evidence tampering for trying to hide the vehicle.

The resident who fired the shots, 55-year-old Larry James, has not been charged. A prosecutor said Friday that a police investigation showed James was clearly within his rights under Alaska law in defending himself with deadly force.

Police confirmed they dismantled a marijuana grow operation at James' trailer sometime after the shooting. Prosecutors are still considering charges for James related to the marijuana grow, said Assistant District Attorney James Fayette.

Here's the news release police sent to reporters this morning:

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Police seek 'person of interest' in Holiday store shooting

From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --

This today from Anchorage police as they investigate the Thursday morning gas station shooting:

Subject: Person of Interest in Convenience Store Shooting

Anchorage Police are asking for help from the public in identifying a person of interest in a shooting that took place at the Holiday Convenience Store, located at 68th and Lake Otis, at about 6 a.m. on December 8, 2011.


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Police: Driver in fatal hit-and-run was texting while driving (UPDATED)

Note to readers: This report has been replaced with an updated story on our homepage .

In this clip, Esther Stauffer, aunt of hit-and-run victim Hubert Tunuchuk, talks about the family's reaction to the death and to Wednesday's arrest.

From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --

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Man escapes village jail during bathroom break

From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --

A man who once won a $575,000 settlement claiming a trooper used excessive force in his arrest is back in trouble with the law. He escaped Sunday from a village jail, troopers say.

It’s the second time Kevin J. Patrick, 39, has been accused of fleeing the Alakanuk jail in Western Alaska in the past nine years. Both times he was accused of escaping during a bathroom break.

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Man shot, killed in Valley fight (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Troopers have identified the man killed in the shooting as Ronald D. Gunter, 61 of Talkeetna.


From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --

A man was shot and killed during a fight Sunday night north of Willow, Alaska State Troopers say.

The confrontation was first reported at 8:41 p.m. at a home on Susitna Drive, near mile 91 of the Parks Highway, troopers said. Investigators believe two men were fighting at the home when one produced a small-caliber pistol.

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