Lawless: If it's not nailed down... - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, September 28, 2021
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Lawless: If it’s not nailed down…

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A young man walked into Grizzly’s Gifts at 501 West 4th Ave. on Saturday and swiped an employee’s cell phone that had been left lying on the counter of the iconic downtown Anchorage gift store with the stuffed grizzly bear parked outside.

Two days later, a man fitting the same description crawled under a partially opened garage door at Alaska Cleaners, at 300 East 5th Avenue, and lifted a pack of cigarettes. Patrol officers spotted the man running down the street with an employee of the cleaners chasing him. At 4th and B Streets, 19-year-old Deen Jalil Elmalik Smith was arrested.

Smith was locked up, charged with burglary II and theft III for the Grizzly’s Gifts theft, and burglary II and resisting arrest for the Alaska Cleaners theft.

But back up to March 28: Smith was involved in another incident, this time at the Northway Mall, and that time he threw punches and injured a man.

Here’s how it went down in March, according to police reports at the time: Two men entered the Fresh Look store, a place that sells hoodies, ball caps, and bling. One of the men pocketed a necklace and left the store. That man was Deen Smith.

When Smith took off with the necklace, an employee ran after him, grabbing him and ordering him to pay for the jewelry. Smith pushed the woman into a mall kiosk, and she fell and injured herself. As another employee went to her aid, Smith threw punches, injuring that man, too. In the scuffle, the necklace was dropped and recovered by employees.

Mall security workers followed Smith and his accomplice, 20-year-old Tre’Donnis Washington, outside and saw them leave in a white van, which was determined by police to have been stolen from E 9th Avenue earlier in the day.

Later that day, the van was spotted in south Anchorage by a person who called police to report that it was being driven recklessly and was in the parking lot at Target on C Street. Officers arrested Smith and Washington in the toy section of Target, where Washington was found to have concealed merchandise — a hat — in his underwear.

Smith was charged with burglary I, criminal mischief V, theft IV, assault IV, and robbery II.  Washington was arrested on an existing warrant and additionally charged with two counts of theft II, burglary I, vehicle theft I, assault IV, and robbery II.

Both men are now in custody awaiting trial.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Watch for a “solution” timed to surface during a crescendo of public outcry.
    Of course the “solution” will require a sales tax and a head tax like they did in Seattle.
    This should work in Anchorage because no for-profit corporate entity is big enough to oppose it, and no individual in his right mind will publicly, or effectively, oppose an easily-paid-for “solution”, especially one that can be forced through Anchorage’s vote-by-mail process.

    • I see that someone else has figured out how the system works.

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