It's the thought of what could have happened that has a Chester Creek-area neighborhood on edge after Anchorage Police arrested a convicted rapist in a woman's backyard last week. 

Thomas Warren, 60, is charged with first-degree attempted burglary and criminal trespassing. Those charges alone are not uncommon -- but combined with Warren's criminal history, the case has shaken community members. 

According to charging documents, neighbors saw Warren in the area acting strangely, then putting on his hood and gloves and looking through a fence into a woman's backyard. 

The neighbors called 911, and when APD arrived, they found Warren inside the locked-up fence. Warren complied with verbal commands, climbing the fence to exit the yard, and then officers arrested him. 

Anchorage Police arrest Thomas Warren, 60, on July 19, 2018. (Credit: Courtesy photo)

"Officers observed mowed grass that was disturbed leading up to the fenced area. Upon entering the backyard, officers observed that the northern most unit had an unsecured and open back sliding door. The door was not fully opened," prosecutors wrote in an information document. 

According to the documents, the woman who lives in the home was at work at the time. She returned home and was asked to identify Warren, but didn't know who he was. 

He is a stranger to her, but he's no stranger to Alaska's criminal justice system.

Court records show Warren made no-contest pleas in the rapes of three different women in 1987, as well as an escape charge, for a sentence of 40 years. 

One court document summarizing the case says, "In exchange, the State dropped a number of charges, including kidnapping and the robbery charges, and agreed that it would not charge Warren in connection with nine other sexual assaults." 

The same document describes the assault in which he gave himself away as a suspect: 

"The charges came after Warren unlawfully entered the home of an Anchorage woman, threatened her with a knife, and then, among other things, sexually assaulted her. During the invasion, Warren restrained the woman by binding her with cord or twine. Soon after Warren left the house, the victim freed herself and called police. Because Warren left a notebook in the woman's house, police were able to identify him as her attacker." 

Warren has made several attempts to obtain post-conviction relief, starting with a 1993 claim that his defense attorney provided ineffective representation. His latest application, filed in April and was dismissed. 

More than three decades later, the details of Warren's past crimes share a chilling similarity with the acts he's accused of now. 

According to charging documents for his latest arrest: 

"Warren was handcuffed when an officer observed a rope sticking out of the front of his shorts, the rope was not in knots and when the officer went and pulled the rope out, it came out freely from his waistband. Warren claimed that the rope was to be used as a belt, but the officers observed that his shorts were securely holding to his waist, there were no belt loops, and the rope was coiled and tucked into his waistband, not around his waist. The rope was approximately 3 + feet long, knotted on both ends, and was made of a softer and more flexible material." 

A custody breakdown from the Department of Corrections shows he was released on mandatory parole in 2013. Since then, he was arrested and then released again three times, before his latest arrest.  

  • He was released on mandatory parole on 11/15/13.
  • He was remanded to the Anchorage Correctional Complex on 3/12/2014.
  • He was moved to the Goose Creek Correctional Center on 3/27/14.
  • He was moved to the Anchorage Correctional Complex on 7/22/14.
  • He was moved to Goose Creek on 8/07/14.
  • He was moved to the Anchorage Correctional Complex on 8/12/14.
  • He began probation on 11/09/16.
  • He was remanded to the Anchorage Correctional Complex on 12/01/17.
  • He began mandatory parole on 6/26/18.
  • He was remanded to the Anchorage Correctional Complex on 7/18/18.

After his latest arrest, Warren scored a 2 out of 10, which is considered low risk, on the state's risk assessment tool. 

According to the online court system, Judge Kossler ordered two unsecured $500 bonds and supervision with electronic monitoring by the state's Pretrial Enforcement Division. Unsecured bonds allow defendants to be released without paying any money up front. 

As of Wednesday afternoon, Warren was still in custody. A bail hearing is set for Thursday morning, in which prosecutors plan to ask for a higher cash bail. 

Warren is not listed on the state's sex offender registry because his crimes occurred before its creation. In 2013, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that already-convicted sex offenders could not be retroactively required to register in the database.

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