Nikiski man arraigned on additional theft charges

A Nikiski man accused of multiple thefts in the Nikiski and Sterling areas was arraigned on five more felony charges Tuesday in Kenai Superior Court.

Brandon Bernier, 35, was originally arrested and charged in 2015 with a vehicle theft and burglary in Sterling. His case became known locally in September 2015 after a community watch group in Sterling chased him and held him until Alaska State Troopers arrived to arrest him.

In Superior Court Tuesday, Bernier pleaded not guilty to five additional charges related to trespassing and thefts in Nikiski and Sterling. The state alleges that Bernier stole several four-wheelers, snowmachines, cars, a tractor, food, kitchen supplies and power tools, among other items, from homes from June through September 2015.

He is also charged with damaging some of the vehicles he allegedly stole.

The state also added several misdemeanors to his earlier charges for trespassing and property damage.

According to the indictments, he trespassed on a Sterling man’s property and stole a Honda Civic and damaged both the car and the chain across another man’s driveway. He allegedly entered another home in Sterling in an attempted theft 10 days earlier, and the state added misdemeanor charges for trespassing and attempted theft, according to the indictments.

Bernier is facing 26 counts total. Of those, 10 are class C felonies, which carry a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $50,000.

Five are class B felonies, which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000.

Eight are class A misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Three are class B misdemeanors, which are punishable by up to 90 days in prison and a $2,000 fine.

At Tuesday’s arraignment, Superior Court Judge Carl Bauman scheduled Bernier’s next omnibus hearing for Aug. 22.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

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