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Teen suspected in Fairbanks vehicle thefts

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A suspect in a rash of Fairbanks car thefts was arrested Monday.

Daniel Draper, 19, was arrested after he drove off in a stolen car dragging Cynthia Majors, 48, who was holding on to Draper's shoulder through the driver's side window, Alaska State Troopers said.

Sgt. Dave Drvenkar said troopers tracked Draper and a juvenile to an apartment and arrested them on felony charges of vehicle theft and assault.

In the week before the arrest, eight cars were stolen from the Fairbanks area, taken for joy rides and abandoned. Drvenkar said other suspects remain at large.

''There's indications that it's a really small group and I think we can put some pressure on them and put a stop to it,'' Drvenkar said. ''We intend to put the crush on them.''

Trooper Scott Johnson said a group of mostly juveniles has been roaming in early morning hours looking for unlocked cars with keys in the ignition.

Johnson said car thefts often increase at the beginning of summer.

''Last summer we had two to three kids who were responsible for 90 of them (thefts),'' Johnson said. ''The simple fix is for people to not leave their keys in the cars.''

Troopers said Draper was driving a car stolen from Arctic Tire early Monday morning. Troopers said someone broke into the garage and took a customer's red Pontiac Grand Am.

Majors was trying to get her 14-year-old runaway foster daughter out of the car when she was dragged, said trooper Walter Blajeski. Majors fell off onto the gravel road and was knocked unconscious. She also suffered cuts and bruises.

Draper also was charged with driving with a revoked driver's license, leaving the scene of an injury accident and failing to report an injury accident.



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