Kenai man arrested in three store burglaries

  • By DAN BALMER
  • Monday, November 3, 2014 11:07pm
  • News

A Kenai man was arrested last week in the alleged burglaries of three Kenai businesses along the Kenai Spur Highway committed in the past two months.

According to a police affidavit filed in court Oct. 28, Kenai police received an anonymous report on Oct. 26 of a man overdosing on heroin in a vehicle near the Kenai Golf Course. Police identified the man as Jeremy Hart, 38. Hart matched the description of a man caught on camera in the burglary and theft of the Kenai Arby’s restaurant on Sept. 1 and Lucky Diamond Pull Tabs on Sept. 10.

When police responded to the heroin overdose, Hart was passed out and having difficulty breathing, sitting in the driver’s seat of a 2012 Ford Fiesta, registered to Alaska Rent a Car Inc. After being treated, police interviewed Hart, who admitted to stealing cash and damaging property at Arby’s, Lucky Diamond and the Moose Lodge on Oct. 20, according to the affidavit.

Hart’s shoe tread matched the suspect’s shoeprints from the two September burglaries. Hart told police he committed the burglaries “because of a heroin addiction,” according to the report.

Hart was arrested for three counts of burglary in the second degree, three counts of second degree theft and three counts of criminal mischief in the third degree. All nine charges are class C felonies, which carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and up to $50,000 fine for each count.

All three burglaries occurred while the businesses were closed. Video surveillance at Arby’s captured a suspect that gained entry by prying open the west loading door. The man appeared to be gesturing to another person, but nobody else was seen from the camera angle. The suspect on tape carried an axe and sledgehammer and destroyed the safe and took several thousand dollars in cash. Damage exceeded $750, according to the affidavit.

Video footage from Lucky Diamond captured two men entering the building at about 1:30 a.m. by prying open the rear door. The value of stolen property and damage both exceeded $750 each, according to the report.

In the two burglaries, police noticed a man wearing a ski mask and white Nike shoes and gloves. The second suspect in the Lucky Diamond burglary had long hair in a French braid underneath a baseball cap, according to the report.

Kenai police responded to a report of a burglary on Oct. 20 that occurred at the Moose Lodge. Evidence indicated two people were involved, based on footprints from an office window into the building. Cash and gift cards were stolen and the value of the stolen property and damage to the building both exceeded $750 each, according to the report.

Hart is scheduled to go to trial in January for a separate case after he failed to appear for a court date on July 30. Superior Court Judge Carl Bauman issued a warrant for his arrest, which he was served when arrested on Oct. 27.

Hart is currently jailed at Wildwood Pretrial Facility. His next court date is Nov. 7 in Kenai District Court.

Kenai Police chief Gus Sandahl said the case is still under investigation with interest in locating the second suspect caught on tape in the burglary.

According to the affidavit, the second suspect in the Lucky Diamond burglary was described as a white male with a white baseball cap, wearing a white hooded sweatshirt, white facemask, jeans, brown shoes and wore multi-colored gloves. He had long hair in a French braid underneath his hat.

Anyone with information can call Kenai police at 283-7879.

Reach Dan Balmer at daniel.balmer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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