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Footprints led police to suspected vehicle thief

Posted: December 7, 2011 - 12:01am

Snowy footprints led police officers straight to a suspected car thief caught driving and jumping out of a stolen vehicle late last month.

According to a recently filed court document, a man called Juneau Police Department at 2 a.m. on Nov. 26 to report someone had entered his vehicle, which was parked in his driveway in the 3700 block of Amalga Drive in the valley. Snowfall was heavy and had accumulated throughout the evening, and the man told police the suspect had left behind evidence — snow around the driver’s side door of his car had been disturbed, stated an affidavit filed by Assistant District Attorney Amy Williams.

From there, one of the responding JPD officers, Tanya James, observed a single set of footprints leading away from the man’s vehicle down Quartz Street, then more leading towards Deborah Drive. James followed the tracks.

“Officer James continued toward Deborah Street, where she identified one set of footprints that zigzagged across Deborah Drive coming from the direction of Diane Road toward the direction of ... Deborah Drive,” the affidavit read.

The footprints “abruptly ended” in the 4000 block of Deborah Drive, Williams wrote.

“As Officer James approached that address, she heard a vehicle start, the whine of an engine, and saw a dark colored Toyota Tundra backed up out of the driveway, attempted to drive forward, but crashed into a snow berm,” the record said.

James yelled for the driver to stop and flashed her flashlight, but the car drove towards her anyway, and she drew her weapon. No shots were fired, police had told the Empire in an earlier interview.

“Officer James, afraid of being hit by the truck, pulled her duty weapon and held it at low ready,” the affidavit said. “She continued to yell at the vehicle, the driver of which made eye contact with her and continued driving.”

The driver allegedly didn’t stop for another police officer, Blain Hatch, who was waiting with emergency lights flashing to stop the truck at the beginning of Delta Drive, the document read. The truck continued driving about 20 miles per hour on the residential street until drifting near the end of Delta Drive. The driver jumped out of the car while the truck still rolled forward. It stopped when it rolled into a snow bank, according to the affidavit.

After a brief foot chase and losing sight of the suspect, police finally apprehended the suspect recognized by police as Koby W. Blake, 20, after finding him hiding behind a shed, Williams wrote.

“The only set of footprints in the area belonged to the subject,” the affidavit charged.

JPD later identified the owner of the truck as William Boatman, since Boatman had called JPD at 4:15 a.m. to report his vehicle had been stolen, according to the affidavit. Boatman noted he usually locks his car, but didn’t that night, and said there was a spare key in the glove box. The affidavit said Boatman put ear plugs in and went to sleep, and realized his truck was missing when he woke up.

Blake was indicted by a grand jury on Dec. 2 for vehicle theft, assault and two counts of failure to stop at direction of peace officer, all class ‘C’ felonies. He was also faces a misdemeanor charge of driving with a cancelled, suspended or revoked license.

Blake has seven prior criminal convictions, two of which are 2010 convictions for vehicle theft in the first degree, the affidavit stated. That makes him a third presumptive offender, Williams wrote.

Blake is currently on supervised probation for those two convictions, and was just released from serving his sentence for those offenses on Nov. 2, the same month of these alleged offenses.

Blake is scheduled to be arraigned in Juneau Superior Court on Dec. 8.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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