Police slammed by spike in burglaries, including at city building
Anchorage police say they have shifted resources within the department to get a handle on a spike in burglaries last month.
Some 193 burglaries took place in Anchorage in March, topping the usual monthly average of between 100 and 120, according to crime statistics provided by the Anchorage Police Department. Most of the burglaries in March took place at commercial buildings, Deputy Chief Garry Gilliam told Channel 2.
More recently, at least one break-in took place in a building owned or operated by the city, Police Chief Chris Tolley has acknowledged to KTUU. The police chief and others within the department have refused to answer questions about that burglary, citing an ongoing investigation.
Assemblyman Paul Honeman, head of the public safety committee, said he had little information about the case. "I talked to Chief Tolley and it’s a public works building, operated by public works,” he said.
No one in city government – ranging from Mayor Ethan Berkowitz to city manager Mike Abbott to Tolley – would talk about the break-in.
“Can’t talk about an active police investigation,” Berkowitz said, brushing aside a Channel 2 reporter.
Tolley also refused to talk about it when asked on Friday at the Assembly’s public safety committee meeting. Abbott initially said Tolley would be available later in the day but police spokeswoman Renee Oistad later said he was not.
Meantime, police are making progress in the fight against burglars now that it has shifted some staff resources toward the problem, Gilliam said.
So far this month, APD has received 62 reports of burglaries, putting the city on par with the average over the past couple of years.
"It is some progress, we don't know the outcome because some of these investigations are still open," Gilliam said.
Burglaries plagued car dealerships in Anchorage, but police told Chrysler Jeep Dodge of South Anchorage that arrests have been made in the past two weeks, said general manager Troy Jarvis.
For the first time in six months, the burglaries have stopped at his dealership, Jarvis said.
Anchorage police would not comment on the task force or the arrests.
Jarvis said car dealers pooled their resources and came up with a $10,000 reward to help police gather information.
“The next day I had 22 people call in,” Jarvis said “The phone's been ringing off the hook with people calling in and giving me their story.”
Jarvis said investigators told him the burglars have extensive criminal backgrounds.
“They’ve been involved with multiple crimes, multiple arrests, felony convictions. It's a pattern that they've created so it’s good that we can finally put them behind bars,” he said.
NOTE: If you have been victimized in one of the recent burglaries and are interested in sharing your story, email KTUU reporters at email@example.com.