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Two Arrested after Boat Theft/Chase in South Anchorage

Two suspects took police on a chase of sorts after stealing a boat and trailer from the 7500 block of East 17th Avenue early Wednesday morning.

After a caller reported to the Anchorage Police Department that his boat and trailer were stolen from his driveway at 4:19 am on Wednesday morning, an officer saw the boat being towed away by a silver Chevy pickup at the intersection of Tudor and Lake Otis Parkway at approximately 4:32 am.

As patrol cars saw the two suspects driving off with the boat, the suspects also saw the police, and “sped up and began running red lights.” APD reported. But, while they were speeding, they, because they were towing a boat and trailer, were unable to speed away from the officers. 

Because of the time of the morning, there was very little traffic on Lake Otis, and so, police followed at a safe distance without activating lights and sirens. The suspects continued traveling south on Lake Otis and turned onto Sentry Drive in the Independence Park subdivision. The Chevy turned again onto Vanguard Drive, then onto a side street, and were met with a dead-end , where they ran into a pole.

Their vehicle effectively disabled, the two suspects fled on foot. But, police were able to ascertain the direction that the two fled by following their footprints in the snow.

Additional units were called in and a perimeter was set up, and a K9 Unit began tracking the suspects.

Less than a half an hour after stealing the boat, the first of the two suspects was located by the K9 Unit at the trailer park at 9499 Brayton Drive at 4:45 am. After locating the first suspect, later identified as 34-year-old Kao Chiang Saelee, and who was determined to be the passenger in the vehicle, he was given commands to stop, which he ignored.

The K9 was released, and just as he was about to make contact, the K9 was stopped by his handler as Saelee raised his arms in surrender. Although Saelee had stopped walking away, he continued to refuse to follow officer’s directions. Regardless, Saelee was taken into custody. When arrested, Saelee was found to be in possession of methamphetamine.


Soon after, as the search continued, the driver of the vehicle, identified as 23-year-old Shawn Poloa, was located hiding in a boat in a storage yard next to the trailer park.

After being given commands and warned that he would be tazed if he did not comply, Poloa climbed out of the boat. But, instead of giving himself up, he began moving away from the officers. He was warned again that he would be tazed if he did not yield to the officers, he again failed to comply and a taser was deployed. The taser was ineffectual and Poloa continued to walk away. A second taser was deployed with the same negative results, and Poloa continued to walk away and did not stop until he came to a gate to one of the homes in the trailer park. It was there that he laid down on the ground at 5:02 am.

Police reported that Poloa was exhibiting signs of drug use, and was “vomiting, sweating profusely, and claiming he was unable to stand,” arresting officers reported. He was taken to a local hospital while in custody, where staff found no injuries from his encounter with the tasers.

Both Poloa and Saelee were taken to APD for questioning. both were booked on charges of Vehicle Theft I, Theft I. Saelee was additionally charged with Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance V. Poloa was also found to have four outstanding warrants for Failure to Appear on charges of Burglary II, Theft II, Theft III, Escape, and Assault.

The owner of the boat and trailer was able to retrieve his property from where the suspects abandoned it. Neither the boat or trailer was damaged.