Teens charged in Kayhi jersey, equipment thefts

Students face four counts of felony second-degree theft

Posted: Friday, March 10, 2006

Three Juneau teenagers have been charged with felony theft of personal belongings from Ketchikan High School basketball players during a Feb. 24 game against the Crimson Bears at Juneau-Douglas High School.

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The Juneau Police Department announced Thursday that two 17-year-old JDHS students and a 17-year-old Yaakoosge Daakahidi Alternative High School student have been charged with four counts of felony second-degree theft for allegedly stealing four bags containing items worth about $2,700. Capt. Tom Porter said Juneau police forwarded the pending charges to the juvenile court system.

"These charges are presented and then the juvenile authorities will decide what they are going to do with them," he said.

Some of the belongings reported stolen were Ketchikan's basketball jerseys; one ended up on the Crimson Bear mascot sculpture in front of JDHS. Other items in the bags included electronic equipment.

Three of the bags and some $500 worth of belongings were recovered during the investigation. Porter did not clarify which items were returned and which items were still missing.

JDHS principal Bernie Sorenson said the high school and the police department worked together to find the perpetrators, but that police deserved most of the credit.

"We'd been following a variety of leads given to us by students as well as the general public," she said.

Sorenson said she is happy that the case was resolved before the Crimson Bears travel to Ketchikan for the regional basketball tournament this weekend.

"This is not what we want Ketchikan to think of Juneau, or any community, because we have good kids," she said. "This is just an unfortunate event."

Sorenson said on Wednesday she met with nearly 100 student athletes and musicians who are heading to the tournament, and discussed her expectations of the students representing JDHS. She said she also praised their accomplishments and wished them good luck in the tournament.

"We felt it was well-received and they listened to me and their coaches," she said.

The theft of another school's belongings during a game is a rare occurrence, Sorenson said. She said it was an incident and not a pattern.

"We have high expectations of our kids in Juneau," Sorenson said. "We just don't accept what happened and won't accept it."

Porter said the department took the incident seriously.

"It's a serious issue regardless of the amount stolen," he said. "Stealing is never appropriate and it's something the school system and the police department took seriously, and presumably the people who lost property took seriously."

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