Two Suspects Steal Van Use it to Commit Other Crimes Wednesday

A stolen vehicle report made at 5:01 am on Wednesday would blossom into an investigation where the van was used during various crimes in the Anchorage area throughout the day that would end in the arrest of two suspects at Target.

Early on Wednesday morning, a caller on the 1400-block of East 9th reported that their white Ford passenger van had been stolen. The caller also reported that the residence where the van was parked at was burglarized as well. An investigation into the burglary and theft was initiated.

Later in the day, at 2:57 pm, APD received a report of a robbery at the Fresh Look store in the Northway Mall with injuries. APD responded to the store to open their investigation and speak with witnesses.

Witnesses reported seeing two men, later identified as 19-year-old Deen Smith and 20-year-old Tre’ Donnis Washington, walk into the store and a short time later, the two suspects left the store with Smith in possession of a necklace that he did not pay for.

A female store employee ran out of the store telling Smith “that he needed to pay for the jewelry.” When the employee grabbed onto Smith, he shoved her into a kiosk where she fell and suffered injuries.A male employee came to the fellow employee’s aid but was attacked by Washington, who proceeded to punch the employee in the face causing injury to the man’s face and hand. During the commotion, Smith dropped the necklace and it was retrieved by the employees, APD reports.

The two suspects ran from the mall and mall security followed in time to see the Smith and Washington leave in a white Ford van. The description of the van led investigators to believe that the vehicle was the same one that was reported stolen that morning.

As police were investigating the Northway Mall robbery, a call came into APD dispatch reporting a white Ford van driving recklessly through south Anchorage traffic, the caller further reported that the van had pulled in to the Target parking lot and two men went into the store. 

Utilizing the caller’s information, investigators concluded that it was the same van that was stolen and used at the Fresh Look robbery.

Officers responded to the store and located Smith and Washington in the toy section. Both men were taken into custody. When patted down, Washington would be found to have stuffed a hat stolen from the store into his underwear.

Smith was arrested on charges of Burglary I, Criminal Mischief V, Theft IV, Assault IV, and Robbery II. Washington was charged with two counts of Theft II, Burglary I, Vehicle Theft I, Assault IV, and Robbery II. Further investigation into Washington’s history would find that Washington was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant in an assault/ fleeing case earlier this month.

Both were transported and remanded to the Anchorage Jail.