Police recover stolen property from Observatory, other burglaries

Juneau police recovered some stolen items linked to recent burglaries including items from Observatory Books in early September.

The police served a search warrant Wednesday afternoon on a property in the 300 block of Village Street in downtown Juneau.

Police searched inside the house and several vehicles on the property.

“They did recover some items that had been listed in previous burglaries,” Lt. David Campbell said. “They listed off several different possibilities. They’re currently doing follow up trying to establish whose property is what and I know they’re still interviewing people and doing investigative work today and probably tomorrow.”

Police are investigating further to determine the rightful owners of the stolen property, Campbell said. No arrests have been made.

Police officers “got a couple of maps that they recovered that they believe came from The Observatory,” Campbell said. “There’s a few other burglaries as well that they believe they have items from. The one burglary that I was told about was the Observatory, because the maps were fairly distinctive.”

Campbell did not know how many people were living on the property.

On the night of Sept. 2, The Observatory was broken into and a pile of maps, charts and other items were stolen.

The store, located at 299 N. Franklin St., specializes in antiquarian books, maps and prints particularly pertaining to Alaska and other polar regions.

The Observatory has been closed since April because the owner Dee Longenbaugh, 82, is ill and unable to work.

Longenbaugh’s daughter Betsy Longenbaugh said police called her mother about 4:30 p.m. and left a message.

“I responded to it because of my mother’s health,” she said. “They said they were in the middle of doing a search warrant in a home and had found some maps and pictures that they thought might be connected to my mother’s book store.”

Betsy Longenbaugh met with police officers in the area off Willoughby Avenue to identify some of the items recovered in the search.

“It certainly appears that the maps and prints they found — and I didn’t see everything that they found, they said they had a number of items — but they had my mother’s very distinctive handwriting on them,” she said. “It appears that they recovered at least a portion of the stock that was stolen.”

Dee Longenbaugh was pleased to know that at least some of the stolen property had been found, her daughter said.

“She was very happy to hear about this,” Betsy Longenbaugh said. “She was very happy to hear that they had at least recovered some of the items. She’s just really happy.”

After the initial burglary, Betsy Longenbaugh said the family removed items of serious value from the property, but are waiting to decide what to do.

“There’s still a bookstore there and we are still as a family trying to decide what happens next.”

The investigation into the burglaries is ongoing.

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