No laughing matter as police apprehend nitrous oxide suspect

Posted: Friday, July 16, 2010

A Juneau man was arraigned Thursday on charges stemming from Wednesday's theft of nitrous oxide canisters from Bartlett Regional Hospital.

Corey Asaro, 28, appeared in Juneau District Court before Judge Keith Levy. He asked for and received a public defender, while Assistant District Attorney Amy Williams requested a $10,000 bond, which Keith granted.

Asaro has two prior felony convictions in Florida; for burglary in 2001 and a 2003 weapons charge. He also has prior drug convictions and a previous summons was issued to Asaro for failure to appear, Williams said. It was unclear if those charges were from Florida, Alaska or another jurisdiction.

Trevor Higgins, the public defender who attended Thursday's arraignment, requested Asaro receive a mental health and safety evaluation.

Juneau Police officers responded to a burglary report at Bartlett Regional Hospital Wednesday morning after hospital staff said canisters containing nitrous oxide were stolen from a cryogenic storage room. Burglary tools and clothes were found inside the room.

Later that morning, police responded to a disturbance at 4031 Delta Dr. and noticed a nitrous oxide canister sitting outside the front door of the residence.

Asaro initially said he found the canister by Safeway, but then admitted to kicking in the door to the storage room and stealing a canister. He was arrested on charges of burglary in the first degree, a Class B felony, and theft in the third degree, a Class A misdemeanor. He was taken Wednesday to Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

A preliminary hearing was set for July 26 at 11:30 a.m.

Contact Klas Stolpe at klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.



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