Announcements, Crime

Suspect charged with local area burglaries nabbed

Christopher Spiers, suspect of several Seward burglaries.
Christopher Spiers, suspect of several Seward burglaries.

By Heidi Zemach for SCN-

Alaska State Troopers arrested Seward’s Christopher Spiers, 31, in Nikiski Monday night, November 9th, and arrested him on three outstanding arrest warrants for allegedly breaking into two Seward residences and a tool shed, and stealing numerous valuable items, including at least 10 guns and ammunition. They caught him while investigating a vehicle stuck in a lane of oncoming traffic. Spiers was the passenger of the car, driven by a Nikiski resident John Ray Stubblefield, who had a revoked drivers’ license due to a former DUI.

Spiers had been indicted October 8th by a grand jury in the Alaska State Superior Court Third Judicial District on the three separate burglary and theft cases, two of which took place on, or around September 18th.

He is charged with three counts of first degree burglary, one count of second-degree burglary, and 11 counts of second degree theft. He had fled arrest in Seward for the Soldotna area. He had a known history of disorderly conduct and assault, and minor offenses involving alcohol, and police considered him armed and dangerous, after learning he had three stolen firearms in his backpack.

Spiers is charged with breaking into Robert Joseph Schmidt’s cabin on Nautical Avenue; Fredrick Ramsey’s Tool Shed and boat on Afognak Avenue, and vandalizing a boat and stealing Robert Schurman’s property at Cape Resurrection Circle. Nautical Avenue is across Bear Creek, near Cape Resurrection Circle in the Camelot Subdivision. Afognak Avenue is within downtown Seward.

According to affidavits filed by investigating officers Seward Police Cpl. Patrick Messmer, and State Trooper Eric Jeffords, those he allegedly confronted Spiers, took his photo (see above) and also they helped by locating some of the missing items.

When Robert Shular went to Afognak Avenue on September 23rd to pick up a boat he co-owned with his friend Fredrick Ramsey, he discovered that their boat had been broken into and was strewn with some of its contents. A Garmen GPS had a broken screen that had apparently been shot at with a BB or pellet gun. A tackle box was missing, and various tools were dumped out, along with the contents of an orange plastic tote. He saw that the door to Ramsey’s tool shed was open, and there was a hole in the houses’ siding large enough to let a man in.

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According to the investigating officers’ affidavit, his gun safe had been broken into, apparently with an electric saw which lay nearby, and all 10 of his firearms were missing. Most were valued at $900, but some were worth $600, and at least two were valued at $1,200.  There was also a threat penned on the wall of his home, and boxes of ammunition were tossed on the bed.

A few days later, Trooper Jeffords answered a report by Robert Schmidt, who had returned to his cabin on Nautical Avenue September 26th to find several items gone or missing. Someone had tried unsuccessfully to pry open his door, but instead had entered through the back window. The burglar had then tried to get into the storage room by breaking through dry wall, but had finally kicked in the door, causing damage to both the wall and the door. Schmidt reported several things missing including a Honda generator, 19” flat-screen TV, dome tent, splitting maul, ax, Coleman lantern, propane burner, hot water heater and hand tools.

Schmidt and his friend Karl Mechtenberg went out looking for the thief, and confronted Spiers at a campsite in the woods, about 100 yards behind the cabin. He had several of Schmidts’ things in plain sight, and was wearing at least one. He also had a backpack containing three pistols. One of the men took photographs of him, which they gave to the troopers. His image also was posted on a Seward Crime Facebook page, warning residents about him.

A summons to appear in court was issued by Judge Anna Moran, and arrest warrants were issued, but according to court records, all attempts to locate him failed. Until last Monday.

Since there were three burglary and theft cases concerning Spiers, all were combined into one, and a status hearing was set for January 15th, at 2:30 p.m. at the Kenai District Courthouse. After his arrest and questioning Spiers was taken to Wildwood Correctional Center.

There have been some other burglaries recently reported in the area that are under investigation but are not part of any charges against Spiers.

According to the Alaska State Trooper Dispatch, on October 26th, multiple units were broken into and items stolen from the Self-Storage facility at 14163 Seward Highway.

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