Burglary arrest doesn't solve recent 'crime wave'

Man charged with stealing alcohol from wharf restaurant

Posted: Sunday, April 02, 2006

A man who appeared in a Juneau courtroom Friday on a felony burglary charge isn't suspected in a rash of residential burglaries in the community, but his crime is part of the same public safety problem, a state prosecutor said.

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Jeffrey L. Osborne, 19, faces a felony charge of second-degree burglary and misdemeanor charge of third-degree theft. Court records allege he was tackled Thursday afternoon as he ran out of a Doc Water's restaurant in the Merchant's Wharf, carrying four bottles of rum and whiskey.

Police lodged Osborne at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center. Juneau District Judge Keith Levy set his bail at $7,500, as recommended by Assistant District Attorney Doug Gardner.

"The burglaries in this town need to stop," Gardner said, stressing the seriousness of the charge. He also said Osborne was on probation for a trespassing conviction last fall after agreeing to plea to a charge reduced a second-degree burglary. The crime involved an after-hours incident at a Juneau business.

Burglaries to homes in Juneau, particularly in the Mendenhall Valley, don't appear to have stopped, police Capt. Tom Porter said Friday. "We still don't have anybody in custody."

Going back to November 2005, police have identified more than 20 residential burglaries, Porter said. While working on solving the crimes, investigators are going back and looking at incidents that were originally reported as vandalism to see if they could have been break-in attempts.

He said he couldn't say if all of the burglaries were related. "It's pretty obvious that whether taken together or separately, we're having a crime wave," he said. "This is unusual."

There hasn't been a single, consistent pattern to the residential burglaries, Porter said. Some break-ins appear to have been committed by one person, others by at least two. In some, no damage was reported and it looks like either a door or window appeared to be left unlocked. In other cases there are signs of forcible entry.

Twice in the last two weeks people living on Kiowa Drive, near Floyd Dryden Middle School, chased a burglar from their home but were unable to provide a good description of him, police reported.

While not advising people to attempt to apprehend burglars themselves, the department urges people be aware of strange people or circumstances in their neighborhood and to report anything suspicious to police.

• Tony Carroll can be reached at tony.carroll@juneauempire.com.

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