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A Juneau teenager arrested on burglary charges at a party Friday night told police he and an accomplice had broken into 17 to 20 Mendenhall Valley homes, according to court records.
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Police have charged 19-year-old Tyrel Matthew Pitka with two counts of first-degree burglary and two counts of second-degree theft, the department reported Saturday. He remained at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center in lieu of $25,000 bail late Monday. He is scheduled to appear in Juneau District Court this afternoon.
An affidavit filed Saturday by Assistant District Attorney Doug Gardner to justify the charges alleges firearms were taken in both burglaries with which Pitka is charged.
Investigators identified 49 burglaries to valley homes since November, and immediately found similarities in 27 of them, according to the court document. Through the investigation, they identified Pitka as a suspect but could not locate him until they learned Friday he was at a party on Kanat'a Deyi Street.
Pitka agreed to talk to police, according to Gardner, and his statements were consistent with evidence found at crime scenes. "The defendant told police they would find his fingerprints at all or most of the burglaries he and his accomplice committed," the prosecutor wrote.
Police have identified the person they suspect was his accomplice, he added.
The two burglaries that led to the initial charges against Pitka were committed on March 23 - one on Glacier Spur Road and the other on nearby Gladstone Street, according to the affidavit. From the Glacier Spur burglary, Pitka is accused of taking a .44-caliber handgun, a .22-caliber handgun and a shotgun. From the Gladstone Street home, Pitka is accused of taking an AR-15 rifle, along with a computer and DVDs.
Although police reported that some of the valley burglaries reported in recent months involved entry through unlocked doors and windows, Gardner wrote that Pitka said he and an accomplice broke into both homes burglarized on March 23. At the Gladstone Street crime, the door was kicked in, the prosecutor wrote.
Police have obtained search warrants and continue to review evidence as part of the investigation. Lt. Kris Sell reported Saturday that tests on evidence being sent to the state crime lab would include DNA analysis.