The run down


A classic front-end loader/Wikimedia Commons

The Anchorage Police Department is refusing to release any information on a local resident reportedly run down and injured while trying to stop a thief from stealing a front-end loader.

Why is unclear.

Under Alaska law, hitting someone with a front-end loader in the process of committing a crime would clearly qualify as a felony assault and might spark even more serious charges.

APD revealed the assault in the Department’s “What Not to do Wednesday” feature on Facebook a week ago. APD there reported that a man with a  “fleshy human body” tried to stop the theft by standing in front of the loader to block its path.

As a result, the post reported the man was injured.

How seriously was not reported other than that he “bled,” but lived.

“The good guy survived with all of his faculties still intact,” the post said. “The bad guy got caught and went to jail on a whole bunch of charges.”

What those charges were was not reported. Whether the “bad guy” was convicted on any of the charges and sent to prison was not reported. first start asking about his bizarre and apparently unique assault last week. Phone calls and emails to APD spokesman MJ Thim went unanswered until Wednesday when Thim emailed to say it would be a mischaracterization to say the phrase “fleshy human body” suggested a fatboy was rundown by a front-end loader.

“We’ve never described someone as a ‘fatboy,'” he wrote. “It’s an offensive term.”

Other than that, the rest of his email said this in total:

“Thanks for your patience. Apologies for the delay.

“I believe you are referring to a WNTDW post. If so, we don’t have any additional information to release.

“Thanks again and have a great day!”

Accuracy issues

Thim has been somewhat more forthcoming about what he calls WNTDW posts in the past, suggesting that they are less than thoroughly sourced.

“When we pick the public safety tip for WNTDW, we ask members (officers, detectives, dispatchers..etc.) to share situations they’ve encountered over the years to use as examples of what not to do,” he emailed back in December of 2017. “We pick a few to include in the post. We don’t ask for the names/date/time/location/case number because that’s not the intent of the post. Many of the situations happened years ago.”

A Google search reveals dozens of cases of front-end loaders involved in crimes and a good number of people killed in front-end loader accidents both in the U.S. and abroad, but a case of someone using a front-end loader as a weapon against someone trying to stop a theft would appear unique.

Thim did not answer an email asking why APD would impose a news blackout on such a man-bites-dog story.

APD has been open about the criminal use of front-end loaders in the past. KTVA-News in December reported on one such piece of machinery being employed “as a getaway vehicle in a burglary the day after Christmas, the latest in a series of separate local crimes involving the construction vehicles.”

In the 2018 case, police said 42-year-old Brian Petross used the vehicle to escape a break-in at a hair salon. He was apprehended not long after the heist and charged with first-degree vehicle theft, second-degree burglary and theft, third-degree criminal mischief and reckless driving.

“Detectives determined the suspect stole the front end loader on [Dec. 22] from a secured lot in the 6200 block of Old Seward Highway,” KTVA reported, but there was no mention of anyone being injured trying to stop that theft.

“APD spokesman MJ Thim said…that police had been on the lookout for the stolen construction vehicle since its theft,” KTVA added.

“APD hasn’t seen a recent rise in thefts of construction vehicles, according to Thim, despite previous cases also involving them.

In June, APD arrested 35-year-old David Hughett on DUI charges after he allegedly drove a front end loader erratically from his workplace.

Last year, four people who used front end loaders to remove four ATMs from Anchorage banks were sentenced on various federal charges.

“In 2016, police said 38-year-old Joseph Martin used a front end loader to smash the storefront at a Brown Jug liquor store on Northern Lights Boulevard, then took liquor from the store. He was arrested at a nearby RV park after leading officers on a low-speed chase in the loader.”

But none of those stories mentioned anyone injured trying to stop a front-end loader theft because who would try to stop a thief by standing in front of any motorized vehicle unless he was confident he could jump out of the way if the plan went awry?

After all, as APD observed, “The law of physics is very real. Please don’t test it.”

The only question there is which of the many laws of physics rise to the level of “the” law?


20 replies »

    • Bryan,
      Where is this money coming from?
      “The government ran a $739 billion deficit from October through May, compared with $532 billion during the same period a year earlier, the Treasury said…
      Federal outlays rose 9%, to $3 trillion, reflecting higher spending on federal retirement and health benefits, the military and interest on the debt.”
      Seems like Trump is good at “running up the credit card” these days.

      • Same place “Medicare for All” money while insuring the world will come from.

      • Of course, the former two shouldn’t be noticeable amounts at all, only the latter two are truly Federal responsibilities.

        “Public employees” should never been allowed to unionize. Most of the jobs they do are not within the enumerated powers of the Federal government in the first place, and the wages and benefits of the jobs that are, and the jobs that aren’t, shouldn’t have included absolutely unsustainable (and out of pace with the private sector) wages, retirements, and benefits.

        That unsustainable situation can be laid on Public Employee unions bravely defending their members against (checks notes) the depredations of their “fat cat capitalist” fellow taxpayers for their own (not the “public” at large) benefit (and, of course, by buying votes from Democrats in power to keep the graft train running).

      • Matthew,
        I agreed with 90 percent of your comment, right down to the point that you blamed the Democrats.
        It seems both sides of Congress are well conditioned to operate in the “Skinner Box” of their chambers are do exactly what the neo con (defense lobbyists) request.
        Military spending is still the top item of ALL government programs and sees little friction from either side of the aisle.
        A very early American politician “Boss” Tweed once said:
        “I do not care who does the electing as long as I get to do the nominating.”
        Elites in both parties are to blame for the huge pay offs to bureaucrats across the nation.

      • Steve,

        The bare fact is 90+% of public employee union donations go to Democrats.

        The creation of Federal Public Employee Unions was opposed by FDR, but enabled by JFK.

        The unsustainable benefit and retirement costs thereof, which continue to drive states, cities, and even the Federal government into the red, as well as the entrenchment of sub-standard employee practices via labor protections unheard of in the private sector, lie squarely at the Dems collective door.

  1. Craig,
    You should know LOTS of things are never reported on in Alaska….
    Like who were the troopers that shot and killed the long time Fairbanks resident a week or two ago while serving that warrant at 5 am?
    Another topic not reported on in the media is the fracking in cook inlet…
    More importantly is the topic of Climate Change and why does it not rain anymore in June in Alaska?
    Years ago it seems like half of June was filled with rain while only half of the days were sunny.
    Currently, we have 3 weeks of high pressure with temps reaching over 90 degrees in the sun in the Valley?
    Lots goes on unreported up here for many reasons (mostly not good ones)…we the residents are left with fragments of stories that add up to nothing.
    Oh well, good luck at trying to get the cops to talk.

  2. Years ago, while at my daughter’s Central School class picnic at Valley of The Moon Park, I saw a man being dragged by a car. This incident was witnessed by hundreds of people(children and adults). I jumped into my SUV and chased the car down. While holding bear spray near his face, I encouraged the driver to take the keys out of the ignition and throw them on the floor. I helped the badly injured man over to a nearby lawn(15th & E Street) and treated him for shock. His head, toes, and knuckles had badly “ground” flat spots from being dragged on the pavement. His calf had a salmon fillet sized chunk of meat ground off. I later learned from a witness that the incident started on Fireweed!!!

    I was interviewed 3 times by the police at the scene(two were recorded). The incident never made the news.

    • so was the driver ever charged? somehow it seems vehicle assaults, even vehicle homicides, get treated a lot different than those involving any other weapon.

      • Believe it or not, I got subpoenaed by the DA to testify AGAINST the man being dragged. It
        seems that the driver was the boyfriend of the passenger who was the wife of the man being dragged. The husband went to his wife’s workplace to surprise her and take her to lunch. Unfortunately, her boyfriend(that the husband was unaware of) had already taken her to lunch.
        Anyway, when they returned, the husband opened the driver’s door and the paniced boyfriend backed up and took off. The car had a shoulder belt that attached to the door. When the husband reached in, his arm got tangled in the belt and the dragging began.

        The DA contended that the husband assaulted them, but I saw both the boyfriend and wife
        from a distance of less than 2 feet and neither had a mark. I met the DA prior to the trial and told him I would testify FOR the husband. He actually tried to discourage me from doing so. A few weeks later I was told it was “settled” and I was no longer needed. He refused to tell me anything about the case. Earlier, I had called both hospitals to seek the condition of the husband. They said they couldn’t provide any information. I said that I didn’t need his name, just if he was ok.
        I even said, “How many patients do You get a day that have been dragged over a mile?” in an
        effort to identify the patient. No info was provided.

  3. Standard activist (“journalist) reporting I bet. Craig, you have been in the business long enough to realize the filters these activists (journalists) use when the perp is either black or native. Usual PC silliness. These “filters” have been in place a long time. Why we continue to ask “why” is beyond me. It is fun watching those squirm in the PC pool though.

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