Editor, Valdez Star 

Stolen Bobcat loader was taken to avoid paying cab fare to the hospital

Washington man arrested and charged with misdemeanor vehicle theft in 2nd degree


March 21, 2018

A Washington man was behind bars last week after he was accused of stealing a loader from a local hotel and driving it back and forth to the hospital to avoid paying cab fare.

Levi Jones, age 22, was arrested by Valdez police Friday, charged with a single count of vehicle theft, in the 2nd degree, a Class A misdemeanor.

The saga began Thursday, when Scott Malone, manager at the Best Western, says the Bobcat loader, which was leased from Jackson Kinnen, disappeared from the hotel's parking lot, between 10 and 11 p.m.

Malone created a Facebook post Friday afternoon, stating if anybody "has any information or saw somebody playing with it or saw driving down the road please contact me or Valdez PD as soon as possible."

A few hours later, Alisha Trawick called Valdez police according to charging documents, stating that "she just shared a cab with a gentleman that was dropped off at the hospital and got in to a Bobcat matching the description of the one reported stolen on Facebook."

Emergency dispatchers "moments later" notified police that the loader "just arrived back at the Best Western," according to the affidavit filed by Officer Alexander Reed of the Valdez Police Dept.

The charging documents state that police made contact with Jones outside the Best Western, and he told police he saw someone get into the Bobcat the night before, between 7-8 p.m., and the unidentified person drove away. He also told police that he went to the hospital around 8 p.m. "to get some bandages changed" and saw the Bobcat parked at the hospital at that time.

He then claimed he'd gone back to the hospital the next night to see if the equipment was still at the hospital.

"Jones admitted he didn't want to pay for a cab ride back to the hotel and knew the Bobcat belonged to the hotel," the complaint said. "Jones admitted to driving the Bobcat from the hospital to the hotel and further that he was an equipment operator."

The complaint says Malone confronted Jones before police arrived on the scene.

Malone told police he asked Jones why he had the Bobcat.

"Jones told Malone that one of his workers took the Bobcat and he was just returning it," police say, then allege that Jones said he told Malone the story that another worker took the Bobcat " he could go on his way."

Jones provided a breathalyzer sample while in the police booking room that recorded a blood alcohol level of .063.

"Mr. Jones was held at the Valdez Jail for arraignment where he was later released on his own recognizance," the weekly press release issued by VPD said.

Jones is next slated to appear in court March 27, for a calendar call.

Facebook screen grab

The Facebook post by Scott Malone asking the public's help in recovering the missing Bobcat loader.


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