Police nab another alleged prowler

Resident saw someone rifling car at 3 a.m.

Posted: Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Based on a resident's tip, police arrested a man suspected of burglarizing at least 24 vehicles between Cope Park and the Federal Building late Tuesday and early today.

Wayne Walter Williams, 22, was arrested and charged with one count of criminal trespass, a misdemeanor, according to a police press release.

Last Friday, police nabbed Ghoshua Winton Hoy, 29, who also is suspected of rifling and stealing from vehicles in the Rosedale Street area. He is charged with two counts of criminal trespass. Both arrests were aided by residents calling to report suspicious people going through vehicles, police said.

The arrests come on the heels of a three-month crime spree that peaked mid-February when nearly 40 riflings and thefts from vehicles were reported in a four-day period. The incidents occurred primarily in the Mendenhall Valley, Douglas and downtown areas.

Police received a call around 3:21 a.m. today from a 10th Street resident saying a man in dark clothing was going through vehicles.

Three officers responded to the area, split up and searched for the suspect on foot. As they searched, they said they noted several vehicles with doors and glove compartments open and dome lights on.

Police spotted Williams who they said matched the resident's description of the burglar. They said they watched him allegedly attempt to enter several vehicles and rifle a minivan near the corner of 11th and C Streets. Police said they surrounded Williams and told him to put his hands in the air. He fled the scene and a foot chase ensued. Police caught up with him behind the Bill Ray Center.

Police said they found a starter pistol and a knife on Williams. He was arrested and lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center. Police said they identified at least 24 entered vehicles from Capitol Street to C Street and Ninth Street across to 12th Street.

Sgt. Ben Coronell said he didn't know whether Williams was connected with the recent rash of thefts and if the jailed suspects were working together.

"It does seem to be a trend," he said. "It's certainly possible they were working together, but really hard to prove. It seems though, if you catch one, suddenly there's another one out there to take their place."

Police are encouraging anyone missing items from their vehicles to call them at 586-0600.

Melanie Plenda can be reached mplenda@juneauempire.com.

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