Vandals damage dozens of cars north of Talkeetna

Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Vandals battered and ransacked at least 24 vehicles parked in remote areas outside Talkeetna last weekend, Alaska State Troopers said Tuesday.

So far, troopers know of nine damaged vehicles on the Parks Highway and 15 others on Petersville Road, which intersects the Parks near Trapper Creek. Several had windows and grills smashed and battery and hood-release cables cut, an apparent attempt to disable the vehicles' alarms, Trooper Ted Norris said.

''They're leaving these people stranded,'' he said.

Norris said cars and trucks have been vandalized in the area before but never to this extent. In many cases over the weekend the stereo was ''ripped out of the vehicle with little regard for the damage,'' he said.

''We're well over $10,000 in damage and items taken,'' Norris said, adding that there are still 10 victims yet to interview.

''There may be other people that haven't reported,'' Norris said. ''They definitely need to give us a call.''

Norris spent Sunday investigating the vandalism. Calls started coming in around 10 a.m., when troopers were told about vehicles vandalized at Mile 126 Parks Highway.

Three vehicles with smashed windows were found at Mile 105, Norris said. The vehicles had been rifled through while the owners were out snowmachining, he said.

Petersville Road was like a scene from ''Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome'': Cars and trucks were busted into at Mile 9.5, 11, 11.5 and 12, troopers said. A stolen truck, high-centered with a blown tire, was found at Mile 12.5. Apparently the thieves stole it a few miles away, drove it through a swamp and then fled after getting stuck, Norris said.

Vandals took VHF radios, money, a .44-caliber Colt Anaconda, even a light bar mounted on the cab of a truck, Norris said. ''We had one gentlemen indicate they stole his insurance card.''

Eight vehicles left unattended in the Kroto Creek parking lot at Mile 14 were damaged.

Troopers believe four individuals in two separate vehicles are responsible for the vehicle damage, based on evidence from the scenes, Norris said.

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