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Troopers take new approach to fighting property crimes

By Lauren Maxwell 7:41 PM December 19, 2013

New unit will bring more manpower to the Valley

MAT-SU VALLEY - The Mat-Su Valley is one of the fastest growing regions of the state, but the amount of crime in the Valley is growing as well.

Drug crimes and property crimes are the fastest growing, troopers said, and so are the number of victims.

Ron Mistler knows that firsthand. His home off Buffalo Mine Road has been burglarized five times. The thieves made off with guns, tools and prized hunting mounts. Even after troopers caught the crooks, a couple of beaver pelts are about all that’s been returned.

Mistler doesn’t blame troopers — he knows they’re having a hard time keeping up.

And the list of property crimes just keeps getting longer, troopers said.

“We are talking burglaries, vehicle thefts, thefts from someone’s yard, even businesses,” said Palmer Trooper Captain Hans Brinke.

The crimes could be tied to drugs, another growing problem in the Valley, Brinke said. He’s hoping a new Crime Suppression Unit with more manpower could make a difference. The new unit will tackle property crimes specifically, and starts up Jan. 1.

One Valley resident is taking a different approach. Vicki Wallner started a Facebook page devoted to stopping theft called Stop Valley Thieves.

“It’s basically an alert page to let as many people know as quickly as possible of where thefts are occurring, things that are being stolen,” Wallner said. “People can also post things that have been stolen so others can keep their eyes out for them.”

The page was started in July, and they’ve already had plenty of success stories reuniting owners with their stolen goods, Wallner said.

 

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