Cooper Landing squatter gets a year on firearms violations

  • Saturday, January 17, 2015 7:47pm
  • News

ANCHORAGE (AP) — A squatter described by prosecutors as a “parasitic presence” in his Kenai Peninsula community will serve a year in a federal prison for being in the illegal possession of firearms.

Federal Judge Timothy Burgess on Friday sentenced John J. Soper, 57, of Cooper Landing in U.S. District Court in Anchorage.

Alaska State Troopers and U.S. Forest Service rangers were investigating a rash of burglaries in the Cooper Landing area when they were given Soper’s name.

Authorities found him living in a cabin that he had illegally built on forest service land near Cooper Landing, located about 50 miles south of Anchorage.

They encountered Soper, who had four firearms, including a rifle, a shotgun and two handguns, and an outstanding warrant for a parole violation, assistant U.S. attorney Aunnie Steward said in her sentencing memo. He’s prevented from having firearms after a 2010 felony burglary conviction for breaking into vehicles at trailheads in Cooper Landing and stealing valuables.

Soper also had been suspected of stealing food from a nearby lodge.

“The defendant kept a journal and indicated that he had ‘gone grocery shopping’ at the lodge,” Steward wrote.

Authorities also said he had a generator at the cabin that had previously been reported stolen, and he was found with a stolen credit card.

Soper also currently faces state charges for allegedly breaking into a cabin.

The forest service will remove the illegal cabin from its land, Steward said in an email to The Associated Press.

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