APD arrests first joyriding suspects under updated code
Anchorage police arrested three people in a stolen vehicle late Thursday, including the man accused of stealing it -- and two others charged under recently modified city code.
Police spokeswoman Nora Morse said a sighting of the vehicle, a 1997 GMC Sierra pickup truck, was reported at about 11 p.m. by a resident who recognized it as stolen.
When police stopped the vehicle near O’Malley Road and Lake Otis Parkway, 38-year-old Nicholas Philemonoff was arrested on charges of vehicle theft and second-degree theft. His passengers, 30-year-old Christopher Chuckwuk and 23-year-old Zane Roberts, were charged with criminal mischief.
“The criminal mischief charges were made possible by the recent change in muni ordinance passed by the Anchorage Assembly Tuesday night,” Morse wrote.
Morse said the arrests are the first under the modified code, which follows a request from Mayor Ethan Berkowitz to lower the standard of proof for being charged with riding in a stolen vehicle from criminal mischief to criminal negligence.
Police have been enforcing the code changes since they went into effect this week, but say two passengers in a stolen SUV stopped Thursday didn’t merit charges. Its driver, 23-year-old Tony Tuaato, was held on charges of vehicle theft and possessing a stolen firearm.