A Juneau Police Department pursuit of an allegedly stolen van ended Tuesday afternoon right outside the Juneau Empire's building at 3100 Channel Drive with three suspects in custody.
Kristin Bartlett had just finished lunch about 12:30 p.m. and was leaving her home in the 3000 block of South Douglas when she saw a man sitting in her husband's van drive off.
Bartlett's husband Dave had unlocked the van, which he uses for his carpentry business, but Tuesday's power outage prevented him from starting work. He had been going back and forth from the house to the van until joining his wife for lunch.
"My first thought was that's our van," Kristin Bartlett said. "My second was they were not getting away with it."
The Bartletts called the police and Kristin jumped into her pickup truck and started driving after the stolen vehicle. As she drove she again called JPD. She caught up with the stolen van at the intersection of Egan Drive and West 10th Street, just northeast of the Juneau-Douglas Bridge.
"I was still thinking that's my car," Bartlett said. "And I was hoping they drove well. Fortunately I caught up with them at the bridge, I don't think they knew I was following. It was just one of those things, someone takes your car, you just follow them to take it back."
Responding JPD vehicles took over the pursuit and attempted a traffic stop along Egan Drive. The van and three occupants instead ran a red light at the intersection of Glacier Highway, Egan Drive and Channel Drive and sped along Channel Drive toward DIPAC, Hatch said. The van turned into the back parking lot of the Empire and attempted to drive back onto the freeway by going over the lawn and embankment. The van instead did a nosedive and became stuck in a steep ditch, according to a press release from JPD.
The three occupants then fled on foot, the release states. The driver, a 16-year old boy, was apprehended immediately. JPD later found one passenger, a 14-year-old girl, on Salmon Creek Lane. Alixzander Thomsen, 19, another occupant of the van, was apprehended at the intersection of Channel Drive and Egan Drive.
"We have the driver and involved parties in custody," JPD Sergeant Paul Hatch said from the scene. "We will make a few phone calls and get them squared away."
According to the release, the 16-year old driver has been charged with first-degree vehicle theft, third-degree criminal mischief and failing to stop for an officer, all felonies. He was taken to Johnson Youth Center. The girl was also taken to JYC. She faces a charge of fifth-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor. Thomsen is also charged with fifth-degree criminal mischief and second-degree criminal trespass, both misdemeanors. He was taken to Lemon Creek Correctional Center.
"We always go after the driver first," Hatch said.
Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at klas.stolpe@ juneauempire.com.
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