Three arrested in theft of log splitter

  • By DAN BALMER
  • Wednesday, January 7, 2015 10:47pm
  • News

Three men were arrested near Kasilof on Jan. 2, hours after a man reported a theft from his property, which had been witnessed by his neighbor.

The neighbor told Alaska State Troopers he was awakened at 2 a.m. by two vehicles on Covenant’s Circle off Tote Road and saw one truck pulling a log splitter thought to have belonged to his neighbor. The log splitter is valued at $2,500. The eyewitness followed the two vehicles to Cardwell Road off the Sterling Highway, according to a trooper affidavit.

After finding tire tracks and shoe prints on Covenant’s Circle, troopers responded to a residence on Cardwell Road and came in contact with four men — David Beaupre, 26, of Nikiski, Tanner Comoza, 26, of Sterling, Joey Comoza, 37, of Kasilof, and Neka Pannick, 32, of Anchorage.

Outside the residence, troopers first approached Tanner Comoza who provided a false name and was initially released. Troopers then talked with Beaupre who was texting while sitting in the driver’s seat of a white Ford F-150 that matched the description given by the neighbor.

Beaupre also provided a false name and denied knowledge of the log splitter that was directly in front of the truck. He told troopers he was sitting in the vehicle to warm up, but was not driving it. The trooper smelled an odor of alcohol on his breath and Beaupre provided a breath sample of .034 percent, according to the report.

Beaupre eventually identified himself and after a check of his record, troopers found an outstanding $10,000 felony warrant that Beaupre is on probation for misconduct involving a controlled substance in the fourth-degree. Some of the conditions of his probation include no alcohol, no contact with felons and no possession of a cell phone.

After a call to Beaupre’s probation officer, troopers searched the cell phone and found multiple messages to other people “soliciting buyers and requesting a quick sell of the log splitter,” according to the report.

Troopers also spoke with Joey Comoza on the scene, who confirmed his brother Tanner Comoza and Beaupre had been together the last couple days. Tanner Comoza is also on felony probation in Anchorage for first-degree burglary and second-degree robbery and has a warrant out.

Tanner Comoza had fled the scene after his first confrontation with troopers but was later found wearing different clothes and shoes. The shoes were later found inside the residence on Cardwell Road and matched the prints found at the property where the log splitter was missing, according to the report.

Further investigation resulted in the recovery of a stolen vehicle, multiple stolen items, a firearm and drugs, according to a trooper dispatch.

Beaupre and Tanner Comoza were arrested and both charged with second-degree theft, tampering with physical evidence, hindering prosecution, false information, criminal trespass, probation violation and fifth-degree criminal mischief.

Each of the first three charges are class C felonies and if convicted carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and up to $50,000 fine.

Pannick was also arrested and charged with false information reported, a class A misdemeanor. Joey Comoza was advised of forthcoming charges and was released at the scene. Beaupre, Tanner Comoza and Pannick were transported to Wildwood Pretrial Facility.

The next court date for Beaupre and Tanner Comoza is Tuesday at Kenai District Court.

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

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