Police identify 'person of interest' in string of recent burglaries

Murphy posed as landscaper, forced entry to N. Douglas home

Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A 22-year-old Juneau man was arrested Monday on a felony warrant for a parole violation, but authorities are now considering him a person of interest relating to a string of recent burglaries.

Juneau Police Department officers stopped Corey Murphy around 9:34 a.m. Monday morning after the vehicle he was driving fit the description of one seen at a suspected burglary in the 11000 block of North Douglas Highway reported 10 minutes earlier..

"The homeowner said they were at home when an unidentified male forced open the door and entered the residence," JPD spokesman Sgt. Dave Campbell said. "The homeowner confronted the man inside the house and the man said they were at the residence and it must have been the wrong residence, that they were looking to do some landscaping work."

The homeowner talked to the intruder for several minutes and watched the suspect drive away in a black mid-sized pickup truck, Campbell said. Once the suspect left the homeowner called the police. Police spotted a vehicle matching the description on North Douglas Highway en route to the residence.

"The person in the vehicle said that yes, they were at the residence and that they were doing landscaping work and that they must have been at the wrong house," Campbell said.

The homeowner identified Murphy, who had given police a false name. Once at the station for questions, JPD discovered Murphy's identity and that he was wanted for an outstanding felony warrant. Murphy is being lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center without bail.

"We're doing research to see if this incident is related to other instances around the city so we can put together the best case possible, but at this point Mr. Murphy has not been charged with anything and he is officially being considered as a person of interest that we're looking at."

According to court records, Murphy was convicted for felony burglary in 2006.

Anyone with information concerning Murphy or any other burglaries in the area is encouraged to call JPD at 586-0600. Two investigators have been assigned to look into the increase in burglary as of late, Campbell said.

"Statistically it's hard to say whether there has been a demonstrative increase," he said. "We do have a crime analyst looking into it. Anecdotally, I can say it does appear we have had a higher rash of burglaries than normal, but if you go on yearly statistics we are pretty much right on course to where we were in previous years, when you look at the overall number."

Campbell said the police department wants to heighten the awareness of the community and to encourage people to be safe, lock their doors and call police if they notice anything unusual.

Campbell suggests some of the victims may even have been contacted by the individuals that burglarized them.

"One common thing that I'm hearing is the people have some sort of plausible story, you know, like they're looking for a friend, or they're looking for landscape work, or they're looking for a house they used to live in a while back," Campbell said. "So, I think that if people are being contacted by people that have these strange stories they should definitely remember as much information as they can."

• Contact reporter Eric Morrison at 523-2269 or eric.morrison@juneauempire.com.

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