Police, trooper investigate theft of four vehicles

K-9 Trooper Anchor chases down one suspect

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer, HomerNews.com

Homer Police and Alaska State Troopers continue to investigate the theft of four vehicles stolen in the Homer area last Wednesday and Thursday. All four vehicles have been recovered, and three people identified as suspects in the thefts. Troopers put out an appeal this week for anyone who might have seen the stolen vehicles being driven, particularly a red 1962 Chevrolet Corvette reported being driven recklessly last Wednesday between noon and 8 p.m. One witness reported seeing the driver of the Corvette spinning brodies at the Safeway parking lot.

Troopers and police identified three suspects related to the thefts. Police cited a Nikolaevsk woman, Kazdoya V. Martushev, 20, for minor consuming alcohol, habitual offender, and troopers arrested Dylan C. Adkins, 19, for violating conditions of probation. Another suspect, Evan Mullen, 19, has been linked to one vehicle theft but not charged.

Mullen has a felony arrest warrant on other charges, said Sgt. Arthur Dunn of the Anchor Point Trooper Post. Mullen also has a sentencing hearing next month on charges of credit card fraud related to theft of mail last fall.

The series of thefts began when about 3 p.m. June 25 a Diamond Ridge resident reported someone stole a red 1962 Chevrolet Corvette from a Bidarki Drive home. Witnesses reported seeing a green Chevrolet Suburban or Tahoe in the area. Troopers recovered the Corvette on Luke Road off the Old Sterling Highway, said Trooper Ryan Browning. Browning said witnesses told troopers a green Suburban was driven in with the Corvette and then driven out without the Corvette.

About 3:15 a.m. last Thursday, Homer Police Officer Corey Rupe saw an unoccupied green Suburban idling and parked at Ben Walters Park near McDonald's Restaurant with damage to its dashboard and steering column suggesting it had been hotwired. The Suburban is registered to a Seldovia man who said he parked it at Homer Air on Kachemak Drive and no one was authorized to use it. Rupe left the scene to investigate a motion alarm at Wildberry Products. Officer Steve Smith went to Ben Walters Park and found Martushev sitting in the Suburban. Items stolen from the Bidarki Drive Corvette, including a check book and a cell phone, were found in the Suburban.

According to a criminal complaint, police said Martushev told them Mullen picked her up at the Beluga Lake Apartments in the Suburban and that she ran away from the car with Mullen and another person because they were afraid of getting caught, but that she went back after police first found the car. Martushev admitted drinking and had a .173 breath-alcohol level.

Dunn said Martushev has not been charged with anything beyond minor consuming alcohol.

"It's not uncommon if we have a bigger piece of pie to delay charges," he said. "That young lady has some serious decisions to make. She was the one caught in the stolen vehicle."

At about 8 a.m. last Thursday, a woman reported someone broke into a Neal & Co. office on South Slope Drive off East Hill Road and stole a 2004 white Chevrolet commercial pickup truck. That same afternoon troopers saw the stolen truck on Diamond Ridge Road. The driver sped away, wrecked the truck and took off on foot. Troopers searched the area with K-9 Trooper Anchor but could not find him.

Police then got a 911 call about 4:45 p.m. that someone stole a 1994 Subaru from a Lincoln Drive home near West Hill Road. Troopers found the Subaru near an Anchor Point gravel pit. Troopers released K-9 trooper Anchor to search for a suspect, later identified as Adkins.

"He (Anchor) basically ran him like a rabid rabbit. The dog had more energy," Dunn said.

Troopers suspect the vehicle thefts are related, Dunn said, but have not tied together all the evidence. Further charges against other suspects can be expected, he said. Police and troopers have been working together on the thefts.

"I think the guys are working hard between the two agencies," Dunn said. "It will take some time (to identify suspects). Once we know who you are, we've got all the time in the world."

Dunn didn't know if the vehicle thefts were related to reports of stolen mail and a steel-locking mailbox on Skyline Drive and Diamond Ridge and vandalism of heavy equipment on Eagleaerie Road.

In those incidents, someone yanked a cluster of locking mailboxes off a pedestal on Diamond Ridge Road early last Wednesday morning. The mailboxes were recovered unopened about a mile away in the West Highland Subdivision with mail from other areas scattered around the boxes. Also that morning, an Anchor Point man reported windows shot at and broken on heavy equipment at a construction site on Eagleaerie Road and a Homer man reported someone broke into his shop, also on Eagleaerie Road.

Dunn advised people to lock doors on their vehicles and homes. He said homeowners should assume suspects in these vehicle thefts and other recent burglaries are armed and dangerous.

"Hopefully we can get this wrapped up before there's a conflict with homeowners," he said. "We're treating this as if they're armed," Dunn added. "Citizens should be prudent before entering into conflicts with people."

Anyone with knowledge of these thefts or other recent burglaries can call Alaska State Troopers at 235-8239 or Homer Police at 235-3150. Anonymous tips can be made to CrimeStoppers at (800) 478-4258.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.