APD notes repeat offenders as car thefts rise
New vehicle theft data from Anchorage Police confirms a common perception in Anchorage that the problem is growing-- and fast-- and APD says as they make arrests in car theft cases, they're noticing familiar faces.
When Corwin Perkins left his truck running with the keys locked inside earlier this month, he says he was only gone for 30 seconds before the truck disappeared from the parking spot right outside his place of work.
"I get to the little entryway over there, look out, and I'm like, 'Where the hell is it?' Just gone. That fast," he said.
Perkins said he's bought the truck only four days prior to the theft and it was recovered eight days later-- damaged and full of other people's belongings.
"They were professionals. They had their drill set, they had a booklet where they had fake plates, too," said Perkins.
He says the thieves put 2,000 miles on his car in eight days. It's now in the shop for repairs, an inconvenience that's created a ripple effect in his life and daily schedule.
According to new data from APD, 3,184 vehicles were reported stolen in 2017. That's up from 2,100 in 2016, 1,214 in 2015, and 942 in 2014.
APD's vehicle theft arrest count went up to 511 in 2017, from 292 in 2016, 227 in 2015, and 171 in 2014.
But that doesn't mean 511 people were arrested for car theft. According to APD, they've encountered several repeat offenders.
KTVA is currently following four cases that are examples:
APD says officers saw 27-year-old Mau Wong-Sin break the antenna off a white 2000 Chevrolet Suburban and use it to open the door, start the car with a screw driver, and drive away Tuesday evening. When they caught up with him, he repeatedly rammed APD vehicles trying to escape. Court records show Wong-Sin pleaded guilty to another vehicle theft in September.
APD says they caught 20-year-old Lyric West driving a stolen vehicle in December, then arrested her again for driving another stolen car on February 15.
APD says Boren Pal, 20, was caught driving a stolen car on January 8. Under the state's new pretrial bail system, he was released, then back in court less than a month later for allegedly stealing another car. After both arrests, Pal scored a seven -- moderate risk -- on the state's pretrial risk assessment tool.
According to court documents, APD caught 32-year-old Saliloimanatu Toilolo driving a stolen car on January 11. Under the state's new bail system, she was released on January 17 with ordered electronic monitoring and supervision by the state's Pre-Trial Enforcement Division, but Toilolo never plugged in her electronic monitoring device and was found driving another stolen car less than a month later.
"I just think that if there were stricter laws, or there were more penalties in place, it would detour some people from committing these crimes," said Perkins.
APD's stolen vehicle recovery rate remains high. In 2017, 3,002 of the 3,184 stolen vehicles were recovered, while 182 remain unaccounted for-- a 94 percent recovery rate for stolen vehicles in 2017.
The data from APD can be viewed here:
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