The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Probationer from Homer jailed for Valdez auto theft

Police spot stolen Jeep outside bar with hazard lights blinking


Where do you go after stealing a car in a place with only one road in or out of town? If you are talking about Valdez, you go straight to jail.

But first you stop at Landsharks.

From there, it's a mere two-block ride in the back of a police car from the watering hole on Egan St. to the city jail.

Just ask Pete Jorgensen. The 25 year old probationer from Homer was arrested at the Landsharks parking lot just after midnight Sunday after Valdez police say they observed Jorgensen crawling into the stolen vehicle, which was parked outside the bar with its hazard lights flashing.

Police were on their way to Valdez Mobile Home Park (Southcentral) to investigate a stolen vehicle complaint when they spotted the 1991 Jeep Cherokee "unoccupied with the hazard lights blinking," in the parking lot of Landsharks according to court documents.

Police say it went downhill from there.

"Sgt. Hinkle and Ocf. Pritchett observed a man in dark clothing walk up to the Jeep and enter through the drivers side door and seat himself in the drivers seat," charging documents said. "The hazard lights turned off and the driving lights turned on."

Police moved in.

After identifying himself, police allege that Jorgensen stated he'd barrowed the car from a friend named "David Miller".

"Ofc Pritchett observed the strong odor of alcohol about his person as well as bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech, poor balance and poor dexterity," police said. He also performed poorly on sobriety tests.

He was arrested on the spot.

Graphic: Google Maps

If you plan on stealing a car in Valdez, beware of Google Maps. While the city jail is as close to Landsharks as it says, arrestees are normally escorted in from Tatitlek St, between Pioneer Dr. and Fairbanks St.

He later showed a blood alcohol level of .168 on the breathalyzer.

The victim of the crime, the true owner of the Jeep who is not "David Miller" or even a man, confirmed she had not lent her vehicle to Jorgensen or Miller. She'd merely been warming up the vehicle to drive home from the trailer park at approximately 15 minutes after midnight. When she went to drive home 15 minutes after that, the Jeep was gone.

The police complaint against Jorgensen alleges felony auto theft, misdemeanor driving under the influence and criminal trespass.

A violation of conditions of release for a February assault case in the Homer court systems is also alleged by Valdez police.

Jorgensen was released from jail in that case with $1,000 bond and police say, an order not to consume alcohol or "be where alcohol is sold or consumed."


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