Teenager arrested for car rifling, two others sought

17-year-old charged with misdemeanor theft, criminal trespassing, cited for underage drinking

Posted: Thursday, July 02, 2009

A 17-year-old boy was arrested for rifling through cars in the Mendenhall Valley early Wednesday morning, and police are looking for two teenage accomplices.

The Juneau Police Department received a call at about 2:20 a.m. Wednesday from a resident of the 2900 block of Linda Avenue who said he saw two boys rifling through his car outside.

When police arrived, they found a 16-year-old and two 17-year-old boys hiding behind bushes in the area. Officers detained one 17-year-old, who the car owner identified, while the two other boys ran from the scene. Police are withholding their names because they are minors.

The arrested boy was charged with misdemeanor theft and criminal trespassing and cited for underage drinking. It is unknown if the incident is drug related, said police spokesman Sgt. Dave Campbell.

Police have identified the other two boys. Charges are expected once they are detained.

Quite a few vehicles are rifled through in Juneau each week, Campbell said. The number of rifling reports varies from week to week, but a single person can cover a lot of ground if so inclined, he said.

"It's a crime of opportunity," he said. "People leave their car unlocked and it primarily happens in the evening time or the nighttime when people are not awake to monitor their property."

Just Wednesday morning, several instances of car rifling were reported to police:

• A 23-year-old woman reported her unlocked 2001 Ford Escape was entered in the 100 block of Fifth Street and two candy bars were stolen.

• A 26-year-old woman reported her iPod stolen after her unlocked Subaru Legacy was rifled in the 8500 block of Jennifer Drive.

• A 34-year-old man reported beer taken from the bed of his vehicle in the 3200 block of Bresee Street.

"It's hard to generalize, but the ones I've been exposed to are people that are in their teens or people intoxicated and looking for some quick cash," Campbell said.

Cars should be kept locked and valuables stored elsewhere, he said.

"I wish people would take those steps to protect themselves," Campbell said. "I think it could reduce a lot of those instances that are occurring."

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

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