‘Huffing’ problem leads man to break in OfficeMax twice in one morning

Juneau resident doesn’t remember either crime, charged with burglary

The OfficeMax storefront, pictured Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, features a boarded-up front door after a Juneau man broke in twice early Friday morning. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

When Juneau resident Gary William Bell, 53, woke up on the morning of Nov. 3, his Super 8 Motel room was full of Juneau Police Department officers and 25 cans of Office Depot air duster. Bell didn’t remember anything from the night before, but he had broken into nearby OfficeMax twice in the early hours of the morning, stealing air duster worth an estimated $154.


Bell admitted to officers afterward that he has a problem with huffing air duster. This week, he was charged with second-degree burglary, fourth-degree theft and fourth-degree criminal mischief.

JPD Officer C.J. Reeves filed a report detailing the events. At 1:19 a.m., a burglary alarm went off at OfficeMax at the Nugget Mall, but when officers arrived, they didn’t find anyone there. They did find two glass window panes of the OfficeMax front and interior doors broken, causing an estimated $800 in damages.

The officers watched OfficeMax’s security video footage, seeing a white man with light facial hair, wearing blue jeans, a red hooded sweatshirt and a dark-colored jacket smash the front glass doors with a rock. The man then broke through the second set of glass doors with a rock and stole what looked like three cans of air duster before exiting through the broken doors.

At about 7:16 a.m., OfficeMax employee Adam Dordea called JPD to report that the same man had just entered the store and had stolen more cans of air duster. JPD officers arrived and were able to confirm on the video footage that it was the same man.

Officers searched the area and later found Bell, wearing a red hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans, with a black jacket on the floor of a room at the Super 8. There were 18 empty Office Depot air duster cans and seven full cans in the room, Reeves wrote. There was another can visible in the driver’s seat of Bell’s green Ford Ranger, which was in the parking lot by Papa John’s.

Bell was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital and was cleared medically. He was placed under arrest and even after being read his Miranda Rights, Bell said he wanted to do an interview with police.

Bell admitted that he has a problem with huffing air duster, according to Reeves’ report, and that he didn’t remember stealing anything between the time he checked in and the time officers arrested him. He had left his house the night before and taken a room at Super 8 because “his girlfriend couldn’t put up with his problems anymore,” as Reeves report recalls Bell saying. Bell was then taken to Lemon Creek Correctional Center until his arraignment Nov. 9.



• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or alex.mccarthy@juneauempire.com.




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