By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Loader theft + loaded weapon = loads of legal troubles for one woman

Vehicle theft and weapon misconduct charges levied after equipment stolen


Imagine driving home late on the Fourth of July and seeing your front loader being operated by a strange woman as you both head up the highway.

That is what happened to Rick Wade last week.

Valdez police say Wade called law enforcement after spotting a woman he did not know driving his loader near the Glacier Stream Bridge.

Valdez police allege that 48-year old Angela Bolton was at the controls of the loader when Officer Chris Shumate responded to the call and performed a traffic stop near mile 7 of the Richardson Highway.

"When questioned about the loader Bolton stated that she was picking it up for her employer and was driving it to Copper Center," charging documents filed by police with the Valdez Court said. "When asked who her employer was Bolton state that it was John Anderson of Kenai but would not give any contact information for him."

She later stated that she may have "picked up the wrong one as all the state equipment looks the same," police said.

Shumate states in the charging documents that a large R & R Enterprises decal was clearly visible on the driver's side door.

"I placed Bolton under arrest for vehicle theft and placed her in handcuffs," he says in the complaint. "As we began to pat her down Bolton stated that she had a pistol in the inside pocket of her jacket"

It was then that Officer Jamison Major discovered a 40 caliber Smith and Wesson pistol inside of Bolton's jacket.

"I observed that the pistol was loaded and that there was a live round in the chamber," the documents state.

While it is legal in most circumstances for an individual over the age of 21 who is qualified to own a firearm under federal law to carry a concealed weapon in Alaska, anyone who is in possession of one must inform law enforcement officers of that fact during interactions according to Alaska Dept. of Public Safety.

"Upon contact with a peace officer, the person immediately informs the officer about the weapon, and allows the officer to secure the weapon for the duration of the contact" is one of several stipulations written into state law.

Bolton was transported to Valdez jail without incident.

She was charged with theft of the loader and failing to immediately inform the police officer she was in possession of a loaded weapon; breathalyses showed she was not loaded, as her blood alcohol content was .062.

"While at the jail I further question Bolton about why she was driving the loader," Shumate said. "and she stated that it was 'joy riding and the wrong thing to do.'"

Bolton was released on her own recognizance July 5 by the Valdez Court according to online court records.

It was unclear if Bolton is represented by an attorney.

Bolton was later indicted by the grand jury in Palmer for the two misdemeanor charges alleged by Valdez police.


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