Man indicted after allegedly stealing car, running from police

Man indicted after allegedly stealing car, running from police

Others facing charges of burglary, assault

A Juneau man faces a felony charge after allegedly stealing a car and fleeing from police.

At about 8 a.m. April 5, Juneau Police Department officers received the report that a man was sleeping in a car. They spoke to the man, 28-year-old Vance Richard Webster III, who was in a gray Chevrolet Nova. Webster told JPD Officer Steve Scherrer that the car belonged to James Lewis, according to charging documents.

Scherrer, who found that Webster had a revoked license due to a DUI charge, allowed Webster to go but told him not to drive. Five hours later, JPD Officer Eric Hoffman saw a Nova in the area of Anka Street, Hoffman wrote in his police report. Hoffman started to follow the car, suspicious.

Hoffman wrote that as soon as the driver saw the police car following, he started “operating the vehicle furtively now and I thought he was looking for a place to ditch the car and run.” That’s just what happened, as the Nova drove to a dead end and the driver ran from the car, Hoffman wrote.

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Officer Ron Shriver also arrived on scene and caught up to the driver — whom Shriver immediately identified as Webster — and Hoffman assisted in arresting him, he wrote. Webster struggled quite a bit, according to Hoffman’s account.

Hoffman saw a for sale sign in the back window of the Nova and called the number on it. Lewis, the owner, picked up and told Hoffman that he didn’t know Webster and didn’t know how Webster got to the car — which was locked in Lewis’ backyard at the time.

Webster faces charges of first-degree vehicle theft (a class C felony), driving with a revoked license (a class A misdemeanor) and resisting arrest (a class A misdemeanor).

Escaping the cold leads to charges

Two people claiming they were trying to get out of the cold now face charges of burglary, theft and criminal mischief. At 12:10 p.m. April 1, a customer waiting to get into Vanity — a skincare boutique and studio — at 204 N. Franklin Street reported to police that they saw Aaron Thate leaving the store before it opened, according to charging documents.

The store owner arrived, unlocked the door and found another person, Chelsea Willis, hiding inside the business, according to the JPD report by Officer Alexander Smith. The store owner found a makeshift sleeping area that was made of store property, according to the report. Thate, 29, and Willis, 30, admitted that the sleeping area and property around it were theirs.

The business was “heavily vandalized, with painting and property thrown about,” Smith wrote. The store owner estimated damage at about $1,000, Smith wrote, and found an air brush worth an estimated $500 in one of Thate and Smith’s bags.

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Thate admitted to police that he had entered the business after hours and eaten food that belonged to the store, and did it because he and Willis were cold and hungry, Smith wrote.

They were indicted on charges of second-degree burglary (a class C felony), third-degree criminal mischief (a class C felony) and third-degree theft (a class B misdemeanor).

Other indictments

• Jereme Martuscelli, 45, was indicted for first-degree burglary (a class B felony) and fourth-degree theft (a class B misdemeanor).

At about 2:27 p.m. April 2, JPD officers got a report from a Lemon Creek resident who said he saw a man fiddling with a garage door and walking around a house that was for sale and unoccupied. Hoffman responded to this report as well, and his report states that he arrived and that the person who reported the suspicious activity pointed him to a car near the intersection of Lemon Creek Road and Churchill Way.

Hoffman and Officer Aron Landry walked to the car and spoke to the driver and Martuscelli, who was standing near the car. Martuscelli told them that he’d been walking by the house and had seen tins of tools sitting by the sidewalk. Thinking they were free, he took them, he said. He denied any wrongdoing, according to charging documents, and said he went up to the house only to see if anyone was home.

The neighbor who reported the incident told police that he hadn’t seen any tools sitting out by the street and that he had seen Martuscelli walking away with the items in his arms. Hoffman wrote that he was able to track down the owners of the house, who said they hadn’t put items by the street and that the items had in fact come from inside their house.

Hoffman arrested Martuscelli the next day.

• Eddy R. Rodriguez, 45, was indicted on a count of third-degree assault (a class C felony) for threatening someone with a flare gun, according to the indictment.

• A 33-year-old Juneau man was charged with second-degree assault (a class B felony) and third-degree assault (a class C felony). The crime is one of domestic violence, and his name is being withheld to protect the identity of the victim.

• A 23-year-old Juneau man was indicted on second-degree assault (a class B felony) and two counts of third-degree assault (a class C felony). The crime is one of domestic violence, and his name is being withheld to protect the identity of the victim.


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


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