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ADA: Accused backpack thief has long criminal record

Judge sets bail at $25,000 for Larry A. Reiger

Posted: September 23, 2012 - 11:00pm
Larry A. Reiger sits in Juneau District Court on Friday during his arraignment for impersonating a police officer, robbery and theft after he allegedly stole a teenager's backpack on Thursday.   Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Larry A. Reiger sits in Juneau District Court on Friday during his arraignment for impersonating a police officer, robbery and theft after he allegedly stole a teenager's backpack on Thursday.

A Juneau man accused of kicking a teenager in the shin and stealing his backpack — which contained a laptop — has 37 prior convictions, prosecutors say.

Assistant District Attorney Amy Williams listed them off Friday during Larry A. Reiger’s arraignment in Juneau District Court as she argued for a high bail amount, which the judge granted at $25,000 cash.

“I think that amount is warranted when you consider Mr. Reiger’s abysmal criminal history,” Williams said, adding that his record dates back to 1987.

According to Williams, Reiger has 12 convictions for misdemeanor assault and one for felony assault; two for violating court orders; seven for disorderly conduct; and one for indecent exposure, plus multiple convictions for concealing merchandise and drug and alcohol related offenses.

“I think it should be noted when he committed this offense, he was either on his way to or back from, just coming back from a hearing that he had in a criminal matter in federal court,” Williams argued. “Based on his criminal history, I think it’s fair to say that he’s got an apparent compulsive need to break the law, and further, to assault people.”

It is unknown what federal court case Williams was referring to. A search through national databases, including Public Access to Court Electronic Records, did not yield any criminal results.

Reiger, 55, is facing felony charges for robbery and personating a police officer, plus two misdemeanor theft and assault charges, in connection to the disturbance Thursday near the Travelodge Hotel, 9200 Glacier Highway.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges through his attorney public defender Timothy Ayer after Judge Thomas Nave found Reiger qualified for court-appointed counsel. Reiger told the judge during a financial inquiry that he was unemployed.

The 16-year-old boy, whose backpack was returned to him after police tracked Reiger down on a city bus, told police in an interview that he was walking out of the parking lot of the Travelodge to the bus stop when “a white man in his 40s” wearing a black suit with an American flag tie who was “acting weird,” came over and starting yelling at him, according to an affidavit filed by Williams.

The man told the teenager he was a police officer and he needed to confiscate the backpack. The teenager was only identified by his initials in court documents since he is a minor.

The affidavit states when the boy asked for identification, the man kicked him in his right shin, causing the boy to fall to the ground and his backpack to fall of his back.

“He grabbed my backpack and ran away,” the teen is quoted in the affidavit as saying. “It didn’t hurt when he kicked me, it just shocked me.”

He told police the green backpack contained a $380 Toshiba laptop, plus a precalculus textbook, graph paper and power cords, the affidavit states.

Juneau Police Department Officer Blain Hatch responded to the report, and contacted a city bus at Nugget Mall in the Mendenhall Valley after the boy reported seeing the man flee on a city bus going downtown.

Hatch observed Reiger, who matched some of the descriptors, with the green backpack beside him, according to the charging document. The affidavit states Hatch escorted Reiger off the bus, but Reiger soon grew “agitated” and a scuffle ensued. Reiger was detained when a second officer, Sterling Salisbury, Tasered him.

Hatch sustained minor abrasions to his knee, elbow and hand from the scuffle. While waiting for medics to arrive to take Reiger to the hospital to be medically cleared — the usual police procedure when Tasers are used ­— Reiger twice gave unprovoked incriminating statements by stating, “I just stole that from someone,” referencing the backpack, according to the affidavit.

Nave scheduled a preliminary hearing in the case for the felony charges on Sept. 28.

The judge advised Reiger if an indictment is issued before then, that hearing will be vacated so the case can be re-opened in Superior Court.

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

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