Haines Police have apprehended at least one suspect in connection with two recent break-ins at the public library.
On Wednesday, Police Chief Heath Scott sent out a press release announcing the department planned to file charges related to the library burglaries. Police have declined to name the suspect or suspects because they are ‘cooperating’ with the investigation and have returned items allegedly stolen during the burglaries.
Officer Chris Brown led the investigation. He says police are hoping that talking to the suspect or suspects will provide information on other open cases.
“You know, we want that from everybody who commits a crime who we come into contact with, because a lot of times one person knows about other crimes that are going on, so we’re hoping they can help us out. They’re cooperating with us and we find that very respectful because a lot of people do not cooperate in any way, shape or form.”
The most recent library break-in happened less than a week ago. Last Friday morning, police were called to the library and found the building had been vandalized and items taken.
Police pointed out that break-ins at the library have been recurring over the past eight years. Two took place this month, on Sept. 15 and Sept. 5. There was another in January of 2015 and more in 2013 and 2009. Brown says it’s possible that the two most recent break-ins are related to the other ones, but right now Haines Police don’t have definitive evidence of that.
Brown says it appears the suspect or suspects chose the library because it was an easier target than other buildings or businesses.
“The suspects involved didn’t do it just to get back at the library. It wasn’t anything against the library. It’s just an opportunity to get something that they think’s gonna improve their life, to get something valuable.”
Brown wouldn’t say specifically what was taken; only that it was ‘items of value to the library.’ He says since the most recent break-in, additional security measures such as cameras have been installed at the library.
“The library is kind of a gem in our community and I know they’re doing whatever they think is necessary to make sure it never happens again.”
Brown says, like ‘nearly every major crime’ in Haines, the September break-ins were drug-related.
“You know, with drugs come every other crime on earth. And the suspect or suspects involved in this do have a history of drug use.”
The suspect or suspects were first apprehended and questioned Saturday evening, according to Brown. He says they ‘more or less’ admitted to the September burglaries.
Brown says the investigation was a team effort.
“It wasn’t just dumb luck.”
He says each police officer was instrumental in the effort.
“If there had been less officers they wouldn’t have been found. If we’d had one less officer even, the suspect wouldn’t have been caught. Or if we’d had less time here at this department they wouldn’t have been caught. They didn’t just come in and say ‘hey we did it.’”
Brown says officers’ prior knowledge of the town and the people was what ultimately led to the suspect or suspects’ apprehension.
KHNS will have a more detailed story once charging documents are filed.