Suspects identified in rash of burglaries

Posted: Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Alaska State Troopers and Soldotna police are investigating a number of business burglaries reported in the Sterling-Soldotna area over the past weekend.

No arrests have been made, but suspects have been identified, according to Capt. Tom Bowman, commander of the trooper's E Detachment headquartered in Soldotna.

Some property reported stolen in the break-ins was recovered by police Monday evening.

Among the businesses burglarized were Wilderness Way sporting goods, Moose River Auto in Sterling, the former Big John's Tesoro gas station and Pine Street Storage on the Sterling Highway.

The Sterling Baptist Church along the highway also was broken into as was the Coffees and Cream espresso stand on the Kenai Spur Highway in Soldotna.

While the investigation is ongoing, Bowman said he did not want to release too much information.

The Sterling Highway break-ins were reported Sunday.

At 5:50 a.m., troopers received a report that two windows were broken at Wilderness Way. Damage was estimated at $2,000. Troopers did not say what, if anything, was taken.

The Sterling Baptist Church was discovered to have been broken into sometime between 7 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday. Damage to the building was estimated at $700. It is unknown if anything was taken.

Four units of Pine Street Storage near Mile 91 of the Sterling Highway were discovered broken into at 2 p.m. Sunday. Damage was estimated at $2,500.

Cash and miscellaneous items were taken from Moose River Auto sometime Saturday night. The burglary, discovered at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, caused an estimated $500 in damage.

A break-in also was discovered at Big John's, the Tesoro gas station on the Sterling Highway that closed last year. The building was believed to have been empty.

Soldotna police received a report at 5:54 a.m. Saturday that someone broke a window and entered Coffees and Cream. No items were taken, police said.

When asked if the burglaries appeared to be related to a series of business break-ins along the Sterling Highway last year, Bowman said the methods appeared to be different.

"These looked more like smash and grab (incidents)," he said.

Troopers have asked that anyone with more information about the burglaries call 262-4453 or Crime Stoppers at 283-TIPS.

Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for information that leads to the arrest of felony suspects. Calls to Crime Stoppers may be made anonymously.

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