Anchorage Teen Crime Spree Ends

Juvenile crime graphic. Youth crime. Teen violence.
Seventeen teen-agers in Anchorage have been charged with total of 282 crimes, more than 200 of them felonies, in a crime spree that began in October.

CBS News Reporter Cary Anderson reports police say they kicked in doors, then stole computers, jewelry, cash and guns. In the course of their burglaries, they also caused a lot of damage.

"That seemed to increase as the spree went on," said Anchorage police detective Linda Branchflower. "We didn't see a lot of vandalism at the beginning, but at the end we saw a lot of gratuitous vandalism — urinating on furniture, stabbing wood furniture, stabbing things into sheetrock, things like that."

In another house, teens poured a full container of fish food into the tank, killing the fish. They also urinated on the couch and bed.

Branchflower also told Anderson that 17 stolen guns from the burglaries are still missing.

"Even though we have recovered a lot of property, there are 17 guns out there that they are going to have access to when they are out," Branchflower said.

The teens —ages 15 to 18 — are facing an assortment of charges: first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, theft, theft by receiving, evidence tampering, criminal mischief and vehicle theft. Two more teens are at large, and charges against them are pending.

The youths allegedly stole $15,000 from one house and bought a 1984 Mercedes-Benz, which broke down and was stripped for parts, said Branchflower.

"It's like they couldn't get the thrill of just doing the burglary anymore. It's bizarre," said the homeowner, Rick Loewen. The youths also destroyed the family's Christmas tree, poured olive oil in a kitchen cabinet, and scratched up the walls and stereo equipment, he said.

Another family came home to find butcher knives stuck into the kitchen cabinets. A 2000 Subaru worth $25,000 was stolen and torched.

"After they've gotten a lot of cash or a lot of jewelry and their friends aren't impressed with that anymore, that's when you usually see the gratuitous vandalism," Branchflower said.

Over a two-month period, the teens kicked in doors to get into houses, opened Christmas gifts and stuffed stolen goods into drawers, then stole the drawers, ruining the piece of furniture, Branchflower said.

They grabbed what they could — guns, jewelry, stereo equipment, money, liquor — and then stopped at the nearest trash bin and culled what they didn't want, she said.

It appears the youths didn't sell the stolen goods, but parceled them out among friends, Branchflower said. The oldest youth, who turned 18 after the burglary spree, was the designated keeper of stolen computers, she said. Another kept the jewelry. Several kept the guns. All except one are boys; the girl, 16, is accused of receiving stolen jewelry.

Police recovered about $51,250 worth of property and brought in the burglary victims last week to look through pictures anidentify what was theirs. But police estimate that $183,750 worth was stolen. Another $32,550 worth was damaged.

Juvenile authorities on Friday released the names of the 12 youths charged with first-degree burglary or robbery. State law requires disclosure of the names of juveniles charged with certain serious crimes, even if they are being tried as juveniles.

Youths charged with burglary are: Bobby Vongdara, 15; Carlos Gomez, 16; Richard B. Gonzalez, 17; Winston Gardner, 16; David Soneoulay, 16; Joshua J.K. Sagayo, 16; Bobby Syharath, 16; Cheng Saechao, 17; Calvin V. Kordus, 16; and Bryan Park, 16, according to records at McLaughlin Youth Center. Ramsey K. Rasavong, 15, is charged with armed robbery, and Sengdara Choumkhammany, 16, is charged with complicity to robbery. He's accused of driving a getaway car and burglarizing three houses.

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