Two Haines men, ages 19 and 20, have been charged in connection with a burglary spree from summer 2013. The case involved nearly 30 reports of items being stolen from cars around town one evening in June of last year. More than 90 of the reported stolen items were recovered the next day from a car parked downtown.
However, the district attorney is only charging the accused with one misdemeanor each, for being in possession of stolen property.
Police have previously said that as soon as a week after the burglaries they had identified suspects in the case. Charges were forwarded to the district attorney early this year by then interim police Chief Simon Ford. DA Amy Williams in Juneau declined to prosecute at that time, telling the Chilkat Valley News that more investigation was necessary.
Then, in March, when the police began returning recovered items to owners, pictures of the suspects were discovered on two of the stolen cameras. Court documents say the photos were time stamped for June 18, the date the thefts occurred.
The documents also outline other evidence police compiled, including a report from a woman who discovered two men in the residence where she was house-sitting on the same evening as the thefts. The men left when a dog started barking. Another resident who was walking his dog early in the morning on the same day reported seeing two young men rifling through a backpack.
The two men charged with in the case say they were framed for the incident
One of the men charged appeared in Haines court on Thursday. His trial date is set for March. The other man has not yet been served with his court summons.
There’s no word yet when the remaining stolen items will be returned to their owners. Borough assembly member Mike Case mentioned the case during this week’s assembly meeting, saying he hoped the police could now begin doing that or explain why those items have to remain in police custody a year a half later. Police Chief Bill Musser said he is communication with the DA about when that can happen.
Editor’s note: KHNS New’s policy is that on occasion, we name adult individuals facing felony charges in certain cases. In this case, the charges are minor, but interest in the case has been high. That is why we are reporting on the charges without naming the accused at this time.