ANCHORAGE (AP) In the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, it's not a Top 10 wanted list. It's a Top 168 wanted list.
Alaska State Troopers this week took out a newspaper advertisement asking the public's help in finding 168 people wanted on felony warrants.
The ad Sunday in the Frontiersman listed names, birth dates and the details of charges against all those wanted on felony warrants. The crimes range from vehicle theft to arson and burglary. Troopers have been looking for some of the people for years.
Capt. Dennis Casanovas, based in Palmer, said he hopes the list will spur some to turn themselves in and others to offer tips on the whereabouts of those less willing to come forward. Those who do turn in others could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 through Mat-Su Crimestoppers.
''I thought it was worth a try,'' he said.
Officers struggle to find time to bring in people wanted on warrants, he said. Along with the 168 people wanted on felony warrants, troopers have about 1,200 more people wanted on misdemeanor warrants. Most often, officers catch people only while doing other work, such as stopping them for a traffic violation, Casanovas said.
''Certainly in the Valley, there is not a concerted effort to locate people with warrants just because of the shortage of manpower in our law enforcement,'' he said.
Publishing a list of names is not unique. Police departments across the country regularly ask citizens for assistance, said Richard Carter, the executive director of Crime Stoppers International. The group works with police departments to try to catch people wanted for crimes.
Other departments regularly put out bulletins for wanted criminals of the week. Publishing a list of nearly 170 names is a lot, Carter said.
Troopers may want to set up a task force to take all the tips, he said.
The cases range from petty to serious. Troopers have been looking for Gary Arrasmith, 45, since 1997 after he failed to show up for a court hearing for allegedly assaulting a paraplegic man and a 12-year-old. According to court documents, Arrasmith believed the two, who were grouse hunting, were shooting too close to his home in Caswell Lakes. The documents state that Arrasmith chased down their car, told them he was a trooper and forced the two out. He then unloaded their guns and stowed the firearms in the vehicle's trunk.
Attempts to locate Arrasmith for comment Monday were unsuccessful.
Rick Pyles, who oversees the Judicial Services Division in Palmer, said it's too soon to tell whether the list will do any good, but he's optimistic that publishing it will whittle down the number of people wanted on warrants.
Sometimes people simply need to be reminded that they are wanted in court, Pyles said.
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