Men arraigned for rash of area burglaries

Posted: Sunday, May 01, 2005

Two Sterling men were arraigned in Kenai District Court on burglary charges in conjunction with recent business break-ins in Sterling and Soldotna.

Andrew McCollom, 29, and Christian A. Gaxiola, 26, were formally charged in Magistrate Jerry D. Anderson's court on second-degree burglary charges. McCollom also was charged with two counts of third-degree theft.

McCollom and Gaxiola were taken to Wildwood Pretrial Facility following their arraignments.

The two were implicated in a number of burglaries discovered last weekend along the Sterling Highway in Sterling and in Soldotna.

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.

The Sterling Highway break-ins were reported to Alaska State Troopers on April 24.

Troopers were told two windows were broken at Wilderness Way. Damage was estimated at $2,000.

The Sterling Baptist Church was discovered to have been broken into sometime between 7 p.m. April 23 and 9 a.m. April 24. Damage to the building was estimated at $700.

Four units of Pine Street Storage near Mile 91 of the Sterling Highway were discovered broken into at 2 p.m. April 24. Damage was estimated at $2,500.

Cash and miscellaneous items were taken from Moose River Auto sometime during the night of April 23. The burglary 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. April 23 that someone broke a window and entered Coffees and Cream. No items were taken, police said.

Items valued at $150 taken in the Moose River Auto store were recovered by Soldotna police Monday, and on Tuesday, police contacted McCollom in his vehicle and recovered burglary tools, according to a trooper press release.

Troopers said evidence was recovered from several of the Sterling area burglaries involving McCollom and Gaxiola. Gaxiola was arrested on Wednesday.

A preliminary hearing has been set for May 9 in Kenai District Court.



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