Western Auto burglar pleads guilty

Derik Wythe pleads guilty to 2 counts of burglary
Derik Wythe during his arraignment Jan. 26 in Juneau District Court.

The Juneau man arrested for attempted burglary at Western Auto & Marine on Jan. 25, and who also faced other criminal charges, pleaded guilty in front of Juneau Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins on Thursday as part of a plea deal between his public defender Kevin Higgins and the state’s attorney Angie Kemp.

“We are going to resolve all his pending cases today,” Higgins said.

Derik Wythe, 27, pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary in the second — Class C felonies that carry a maximum of up to five years in jail and a $50,000 fine. Wythe has no prior felonies so he will likely serve up to two years in jail.

Attempted theft and criminal mischief charges were dismissed as part of the plea bargain.

The guilty pleas are subject to open sentencing. Wythe could be ordered to pay damages in these two guilty pleas, as well as the cases dismissed and in three uncharged cases.

Wythe admitted to entering and remaining unlawfully at GCI on Dec. 24 with the intent to commit theft.

Employees of GCI reported to work to find several items in disarray. Upon investigation, a safe was found missing. A manager confirmed that cash, checks and other items were missing.

A store video showed Wythe in a spider-themed sweatshirt with the hood up pilfering the store.

Later, Juneau police officers responded to a local hotel where a clerk noted suspicious activity involving the transfer of goods from a vehicle to a room. Officers responded to the room where Wythe gave a different name. Receipts were found consistent with the burglary and a search warrant was executed. The warrant turned up several items consistent with the burglary including the spider-themed sweatshirt and tennis shoes with World printed on the bottom that were consistent with footprints left outside GCI.

Wythe also admitted to breaking into Western Auto & Marine on Jan. 25 and attempting to steal multiple items. Police responded to an alarm and found Wythe trying to avoid detection by lying on a shelf.

Police found firearms and knives from a store display rack in his possession.

The Juneau Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT, unit, a local dog and handler from Southeast Alaska Chiefs Against Drugs (SEACAD), and more than 11 patrol vehicles and the Juneau Police Department mobile command station responded to the scene. Officers remained on scene for multiple hours to make sure no accomplices were in the building.

A pre-sentencing report was scheduled for June 1 in Collins’ courtroom.

• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.


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