Armed men break into home, menace children

Posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2003

ANCHORAGE - Two young men apparently looking for a marijuana grow broke into a Wasilla-area home and held three children at gunpoint before being chased off by the children's father, Alaska State Troopers said.

The family, which is renting the home, was shaken up but unharmed during the Saturday morning break-in, said Trooper Dave Herrell. The home contained no marijuana plants, but the father, Johnnie Wallace, said the landlord told him a previous tenant was kicked out for growing dope.

The children held at gunpoint included a 14-year-old girl, her 5-year-old brother and their 1 1/2-year-old sister.

Wallace told the Anchorage Daily News that he and his wife were sleeping when two men broke in about 11 a.m. The couple had spent the early morning hours delivering newspapers, he said.

The children were downstairs watching cartoons. A man who appeared to be in his late teens or possibly 20 came to the door asking for someone who does not live there, Wallace said.

The 14-year-old girl told him he had the wrong house, and he left.

About 20 minutes later, he and another man about the same age returned. This time, when the girl answered the door, the two pushed their way in.

One suspect pointed a handgun at the girl and told her to lie on the floor and be quiet, Herrell said. Her siblings started crying, and the girl asked if they could sit next to her. The suspect allowed the three to sit together, the trooper said.

Meanwhile, the other suspect ran down to the basement, where he pulled insulation from around a window and rummaged around apparently looking for a secret room, Herrell said. He then came back upstairs and asked, "Where's the weed?" the trooper said.

About that time, Wallace heard his son crying. As he came out of his room, he saw one man coming up the stairs and the other standing near the door, he said.

"I said, 'What's going on here?' " he said.

The two men ran out the door.

Wallace said his landlord told him after the break-in that he had kicked out a former tenant for growing marijuana in the house. Herrell, the trooper, knew of no arrests made at the house but said the landlord had told him a previous tenant had run up high electric bills.

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