Recent burglaries connected; stolen goods may be headed to Anchorage

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2002

Five burglaries Monday night brought to 25 the total number of central Kenai Peninsula businesses and churches that have been broken into in the past two months.

The results have been a lot of broken doors and windows, a great deal of stolen property and no arrests, according to local law enforcement officers.

Monday night, three Soldotna coffee wagons -- The Grind, Coffee and Cream and the Espresso Wagon -- Noble Car Wash and Regal Interiors joined the growing list of burglary victims, mostly located in or near Soldotna and Sterling.

The rash of burglaries began June 22, when the Mom and Dad grocery and Sadler's Home Furnishings in Sterling, and Kenai Peninsula Harley Davidson and the Golden International Restaurant in Soldotna were hit.

Those burglaries are the only ones police don't think are connected. Police detected similar methods of entry. In at least two of the break-ins, perpetrators cut electrical power to the buildings, disabling burglar alarms.

"We think they're all connected, except those first few," said Alaska State Troopers 1st Sgt. Charles Tressler. In addition to method of entry, police investigators also look at such crime characteristics as type of property stolen, time of occurrence and tools used to gain entry.

Tressler said business owners should make sure their businesses are locked before leaving for the night and that the alarm systems are working.

"It would also be a good idea to have a (direct current) backup for the alarm systems in case the power is cut," he said.

"It's no secret that troopers here operate with a limited staff, so it would be a good idea if business owners checked on their businesses periodically at night."

Tressler also said investigators are spending a lot of time taking reports and checking with a number of local suspects.

"We're trying to shorten our list of suspects," Soldotna Police Detective Sgt. Tod McGillivray said. "We're trying to determine who was where, when. He also said police have been making numerous security checks of businesses during the night.

Burglars have been taking a "hodgepodge of stuff," according to McGillivray. In the coffee wagon burglaries, they were strictly after cash, he said.

In some burglaries, thieves have taken computer equipment and left printers behind. In others, they've taken a telephone and left the computer behind. Computer and sound equipment were taken from some of the churches. And, in some of the burglaries, only cash and checks were taken.

Other businesses that have been broken into recently include One Stop Travel, C and C Glass, Point of View Realty, Crane and Associates Realty and Sun 'N Fun Tanning and Travel in Soldotna, Andy's Auto on Funny River Road, Vincent's Auto in Kenai, Suzie's Cafe in Sterling and a construction site on Kalifornsky Beach Road.

Area churches burglarized in the past two months include Soldotna Methodist Church, Sterling Baptist, Peninsula Grace Brethren, Soldotna Church of Christ and Peninsula Independent Baptist Church.

McGillivray said none of the stolen property has turned up anywhere yet.

"We've put the word out to local pawn shops," he said. "They've been pretty good in the past about calling us if something turns up."

"We believe the stuff's not staying around here," Tressler said. "It's going to Anchorage."

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