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Troopers catch bail jumper in a tight space

Posted: Friday, October 01, 2010

Bennie Holt was hiding in a crawl space when Alaska State Troopers found him last Wednesday after a tip came in.

Trooper Patrick Freeman said Holt was wanted for failing to appear on a charge of second degree theft. Freeman found the 25-year-old in the crawl space beneath a Soldotna residence after former owners alerted the agency of his whereabouts.

At 6 p.m., two troopers arrived at the single story house. Trooper Michael Shelley, who accompanied Freeman, said that the current owners let them in and showed them around the home. The troopers found no sign of Holt in the residence's three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Then the trooper let them know about the tip. Freeman told them he knew Holt was in the crawl space, and asked them to show him where it was. The owners took them to a guest bedroom, kneeled by the opening and asked the alleged criminal to come out.

Freeman peered inside. The crawl space was "like a room beneath the house," he said. According to the trooper, it was approximately 10 feet wide, but too short to stand fully erect.

Freeman said that Holt climbed out and accepted his arrest graciously. According to the trooper, the alleged thief asked if he really needed to wear handcuffs.

"We don't know you, man," he replied.

He was taken to Wildwood Pre-Trial with $5,000 bail.

Trooper Shelley said that the two adults who currently owned the house could have faced charges for hindering law enforcement.

"They could've faced charges but we didn't believe it was appropriate at the time," he said.

According to the former owners, Holt hid in the crawl space when the house was empty, but otherwise lived openly in the domicile. The troopers decided it wouldn't be appropriate to charge the owners, whose address they refused to disclose.

"Our goal in law enforcement is voluntary compliance, you know," Shelley said.

Tony Cella can be reached at tony.cella@peninsulaclarion.com.



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