Nikiski men accused of vehicle, construction material theft

The arrests follow an investigation into several reports of missing items.

Alaska State Troopers logo.

Alaska State Troopers logo.

Two Nikiski men have been charged with theft for allegedly stealing items including a motorcycle, trailer and nearly $2,000 in construction materials, according to affidavits filed at the Kenai Courthouse.

Russell Johnson, 39, and Robert Phillips, 35, are facing charges of theft following investigation into several reports of missing items.

The first report came on Oct. 5, when a 16-foot trailer with a Washington license plate was reported missing in Kenai. The trailer was described as having distinct red wheels, according to court documents.

On Oct. 11, a man reported to Alaska State Troopers that the tires and wheels had been stolen from his pickup, and he had potentially discovered one of his wheels at a property on Frost Street in Nikiski. The man provided photos to the troopers, which showed wheels that had an eight-lug pattern and had been spray-painted blue in the center, according to court documents.

Troopers reported that they went to the property on Frost Street and found Johnson, who is the property owner, and Phillips, along with the blue wheel that had been reported stolen and a license plate registered to the pickup truck.

Troopers also reporting finding a flatbed trailer on the property that was concealed by a “large tarp, tree branches and pallets.” The trailer had red wheels that matched the description of the stolen trailer reported on Oct. 5. Johnson allegedly told troopers that he asked Phillips to get him a trailer for hauling away junk, and that was the one Phillips brought. A license plate check confirmed that this was the stolen trailer, troopers reported.

Johnson was allegedly in possession of a red motorcycle with an Oregon license plate. The registration tab on the motorcycle had been tampered with to change the expiration date, according to court documents, and the registration tab also belonged to a trailer, not a motorcycle.

Troopers reported that the license plate from the pickup truck — previously found on the ground at Johnson’s property — had been moved and was now located at the bottom of a hill and was bent in half. Johnson initially told troopers that his dog had taken it before later admitting that he threw the license plate in an attempt to “clean up the place,” according to the court documents.

Troopers also reported finding on the property construction materials — including foam board and rolls of plastic sheeting — that matched the description of items that were reported stolen on Oct. 1.

Johnson faces one count of second-degree theft, one count of tampering with physical evidence, and one count of possessing a forged title or registration, all of which are Class C felonies.

Phillips faces one count of second-degree theft, a Class C felony.

Reach reporter Brian Mazurek at bmazurek@peninsulaclarion.com.

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