In February, about 24 firearms and multiple gold items were stolen from the home and business of a Juneau resident, according to an indictment filed in Juneau Superior Court this week.
The Juneau Police Department released news in February that guns and gold had been stolen, and on Feb. 28, a witness provided information that there were firearms for sale in the community. The indictment didn’t include information about who the witness was or how the person was involved.
According to charging documents, the witness told JPD that Juneau resident Gene Chilton III claimed to be selling several guns, and that Derick Skultka “was the person with the guns.” Skultka was a wanted man at the time, as JPD announced it was looking for him because of a parole violation.
Chilton, 28, was arrested Feb. 21, 2018 as part of a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Alaska State Troopers and JPD, according to a JPD release at the time.
Authorities say Chilton told the witness that Skultka was staying in a room near or in the Madsen Apartments (near the Juneau International Airport) with a rocking chair in front of the apartment.
Law enforcement officials found that Musa Marenah, who had an outstanding warrant for his arrest, was renting that unit, charging documents say. Officers executed a warrant to search the unit, the indictment reads, and found Marenah, Curtis Rocco Mangusso and another individual inside the unit. Magusso, 27, had two $500 Alaska State Troopers warrants for not appearing in court with the original charge of driving under the influence, JPD said in February.
Officers found two rifles in the bedroom of the apartment, according to the indictment, and identified one of them as an International Harvester Garand that matched the serial number of one of the guns that was stolen in February. The other gun was a Sako bolt-action rifle, authorities say, but the indictment didn’t say whether that gun was one of the stolen weapons.
The indictment also didn’t explicitly tie Skultka to the theft of all 24 firearms. The only gun mentioned was the International Harvester Garand.
Marenah told police Skultka comes over to his apartment from time to time, the indictment says, and he said that a week prior to the search, Skultka had come over to hide the two rifles. Marenah told police he didn’t know the guns were stolen, charging documents say.
Later on, the indictment alleges Marenah told police he didn’t realize the guns were stolen until he saw a Facebook post about the guns, and said he then learned Skultka was wanted by police. At that point, the charging documents say, Marenah “figured he might be involved with all that stuff.”
Skultka was found nearby, according to information released by JPD in February. Skultka tried to flee, police said, but officers were able to catch and arrest him. Mangusso was also arrested for his outstanding warrant.
Marenah was on felony probation at the time, with the original charge of driving under the influence and providing false information to an officer, the indictment says. He has had multiple probation violations, authorities say, and was taken to Lemon Creek Correctional Center for violating probation.
Woman caught with stolen painting because of social media post
When a woman posted a photo on Facebook of her mirror, the reflection in the mirror showed a stolen piece of artwork on her wall, according to an indictment filed this week.
Juneau resident Shauna Velasco, 28, posted a photo in the Facebook group “Juneau Buy-Sell-Trade” on Jan. 17, 2018 in an effort to sell the mirror, according to the indictment. Someone recognized a painting shown in the reflection as a painting that was reported stolen the previous day from Elgee Rehfeld Mertz, an accounting firm.
The artwork itself was not for sale, police say, but JPD Sgt. Shawn Phelps saw the photo and recognized the distinctive painting.
Bob Rehfield of the accounting firm said the painting was an original piece from Tlingit artist Alison Bremner Marks called “Malibu Raven,” and that he paid $3,000 for it, according to charging documents. The painting was reported stolen from the downstairs lobby, according to the indictment.
JPD officer Jason Van Sickle went to Velasco’s home and could see the painting hung on the wall, the indictment alleges. Velasco’s husband Raul said his wife had come home a couple nights earlier with the painting, according to charging documents.
Velasco told Van Sickle she had been walking by Elgee Rehfeld Mertz and thought the painting was pretty, according to the indictment, and even though she knew the painting was valuable she took it anyway. She told Van Sickle the door was open, people were in their cubicles and she just walked in and took it off the wall, the document alleges.
Velasco, the document reads, told Van Sickle she’s been having a difficult time dealing with the recent death of her father and she’s been treating people poorly and stealing without being able to control it. She asked Van Sickle to apologize to Elgee Rehfeld Mertz on her behalf, according to the report, and that she won’t go back to their business.
Velasco faces a charge of second-degree theft, which is a class C felony.
Superbear burglar knocked out employee’s tooth
An indictment released this week states Wheat was stealing an estimated $252.66 worth of food in a reusable shopping bag when employees followed him out of the store. One employee grabbed the bag in an attempt to stop Wheat, according to charging documents, and Wheat turned on the man.
Wheat hit the employee in the face hard enough to knock a tooth out, police say, and then began scratching at the man’s face. The scratching left red marks on the kneck, the indictment says.
Wheat then dropped the stolen food and ran away, according to charging documents. He came back about 15 minutes later, the indictment alleges, yelling for the employees to come fight him and spitting on the ground in front of the store.
Officers arrested Wheat for second-degree robbery (a class B felony), third-degree theft (a class A misdemeanor), fourth-degree assault (a class A misdemeanor) and disorderly conduct (a class B misdemeanor), a JPD release stated at the time. Wheat was taken to Lemon Creek Correctional Center and held without bail.
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.