Police search for Griglione: Football star sought on felony charges for faking robbery

Posted: Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Police are still searching for a former Soldotna High School football star wanted on five felony charges alleging he faked a knifepoint robbery during a prescription drug deal in Soldotna.

"We're waiting to wrap up the last of the gang," Soldotna Police Chief John Lucking said Monday. Lucking said once officers are able to locate Anthony Griglione, 19, more details on the incident should emerge.

Soldotna's Sgt. Tony Garcia said investigators believe Griglione has fled the state. Griglione was previously enrolled at Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D,, where he played linebacker for the football team, but Garcia said Griglione transferred to Valley City State University, in N.D. Griglione was scheduled to start class at Valley City this week, according to Garcia.

At this point, the clearest details of the case lie in Soldotna Police Officer Mark Berestoff's affidavit, which explains the incident in the following way:

Shortly after 5 p.m. on Dec. 29, 2009, Soldotna police and Alaska State Troopers responded to a call from 20-year-old Michelle Quelland saying she had been robbed at knifepoint in the Fred Meyer parking lot.

Quelland had parked her Dodge in the lot and Jesse Honrud sat in the passenger's seat. Then Griglione sat in the back seat of the vehicle to purchase 105 Xanax pills from Quelland for $700. Xanax is a prescription drug used to treat anxiety disorders. Quelland did not have any Xanax during the time of the scheduled transaction. Garcia said Quelland planned to drive Griglione to a separate location to pick up the Xanax.

While the three were still in the vehicle, a 17-year-old, identified as N.S.L., wearing dark clothing and a ski mask ran up to the passenger's window and put a knife to Honrud's throat, demanding money and drugs. Honrud has not been charged in the incident. Quelland described the knife as silver and black, likely a folding knife, the affidavit continues.

Griglione then gave the masked minor $700, while everyone in the car emptied their pockets to show they did not have Xanax. Griglione told Quelland not to report the robbery to the police. He also told Quelland that she owed him $700 before getting out of the Dodge and fleeing the scene in another vehicle.

Further investigation revealed Griglione had actually hired the masked minor, agreeing to pay $300, to stage the robbery so that Griglione would not have to pay $700 for the Xanax.

With Honrud in the front seat, the alleged plan went awry. The masked minor -- who was charged with robbery, theft and assault in the incident, according to Garcia -- was supposed to put the knife to Griglione's throat.

Police recovered the ski mask and knife early on in the investigation, which enabled them to obtain a confession from the 17-year-old alleged robber, according to Garcia.

The masked minor said Griglione needed to borrow the $700 involved in the transaction from Jesse Chumley-Larson. Investigation showed that Chumley-Larson knew how the $700 was to be used.

"He admitted to his part in the robbery," Garica said of Chumley-Larson.

Griglione faces one charge of conspiracy to commit a robbery, two charges of conspiracy to commit assault, one charge of conspiracy to commit theft and another charge of conspiracy to possess 25 or more tablets of a Schedule IVA substance. Bond was set at $10,000.

Griglione was a running back and linebacker for Soldotna and earned a 3.7 grade point average his senior year. He was named the 2008-2009 Gatorade Alaska football player of the year and helped lead Soldotna to three-consecutive small schools state championship.

"Soldotna police officers have contacted Griglione's mother, Holly Scott, and she stated she does not know the location of her son," according to a Jan. 2 document filed by Berestoff requesting a warrant on Griglione. "Officers have attempted to call Griglione on his cell phone but he will not answer it."

Andrew Waite can be reached at andrew.waite@peninsulaclarion.com.

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