By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Reward of $1,000 offered for information leading to arrest in local gun heist

Two dozen firearms stolen from South Central Hardware last week is under investigation

 

January 17, 2018



Valdez police are offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in last week’s burglary of South Central Hardware – where approximately two dozen firearms were reportedly stolen.

“We are still seeking information,” Police Chief Bart Hinkle said in a interview Tuesday morning. “We have lots of leads.”

The Valdez rumor mill sprang into high gear a week ago Tuesday as news of the commercial burglary spread amidst what some see as an increase in residential burglaries.

The theft occurred at the store’s downtown location.

Hinkle said the gun thefts are the first commercial burglary reported in some time, but police have seen an increase in reports of residential burglaries, thefts and people calling police after finding evidence someone may have entered their home while they were away.

Hinkle said about two dozen fire arms were stolen.

“There were approximately 24…” he said. “Predominantly hand guns.”

While no arrest had been made in the case as of Tuesday morning, Hinkle said the investigation led to the recovery of a gun that was reported stolen over thirty years ago.

“A local Valdez resident had recently acquired a gun,” in a private sale he said. “They wanted to make sure it (the sale) was legitimate.”

It turns out the gun in question was reported stolen in the Anchorage area back in 1980.

Hinkle also said Valdez police are actively working with other law enforcement agencies, including Anchorage Police Dept. Alaska State Troopers and federal government.

“Anytime you’re talking firearms,” Hinkle said – you are also talking about ATF – the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Hinkle said video surveillance from surrounding businesses, including Napa Auto Parts, is playing a role in developing leads in the case, as is footage gleaned from other businesses and intersections in the area.

Hinkle said he is encouraging anyone else who may have overlooked video surveillance from the area to contact police.


Bill Johnson for Alaska House
 

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