Gas thief strikes kids’ summer camp van, frustrates Harris Street neighborhood

To commit what appears to be a petty theft, someone severely damaged a van that a Juneau nonprofit uses to ferry kids around for its programs.

Discovery Southeast Executive Director Shawn Eisele said he found a hose and a hand drill under the van Thursday morning.

“We discovered someone had actually drilled the fuel tank to empty the gas out and get it that way,” he said. “So, that means not only an immobile van for the time being, but, you know, several thousand dollars of repairs to get a brand new fuel tank in it only a week and a half before summer camp.”

The van is parked on the street near their office at Fourth and Harris in downtown Juneau. It even had a locking gas cap.

“It’s kind of jaw-dropping how someone would go to that — you know, cause that kind of damage to get, I don’t know what, $50 of gas?” Eisele said. “It doesn’t really make sense. But I think that people are just – they’re not in their right mind… I think it’s really a bigger issue that we see going on in that neighborhood.”

Juneau Police Lt. Krag Campbell said gas thefts are an ongoing issue around Juneau.

“We actually get a lot of vehicle fuel thefts around Juneau that are reported, and we catch some people from time to time,” he said. “It’s a variety of people.”

However, Campbell said a more typical telltale sign is a damaged fuel door, not a tank drilled out from underneath the vehicle.

Eisele and Campbell both said there is a lot of crime in the area that seems to be centered around one particular problem house – the home of James Barrett. Police just last week recovered stolen goods there after executing a search warrant.

Campbell said the department has put a lot of policing effort into the neighborhood, including increased patrols.

Jeremy Hsieh

Local News Reporter, KTOO

I dig into questions about the forces and institutions that shape Juneau, big and small, delightful and outrageous. What stirs you up about how Juneau is built and how the city works?

Like what you just read? KTOO news stories are member supported. Support your community news source today. Donate to KTOO.
Site notifications
Update notification options
Subscribe to notifications