Eagle River shoplifting suspect caught after shooting door, ditching pants

Casey Grove

When Walmart employees confronted an Eagle River man trying to shoplift, he ran to a locked door, fired his gun at it, then ran outside and took his pants and shoes off in a nearby neighborhood, according to Anchorage police.

A police dog tracked the man, Wesley Weinburger, from the Eagle River store about a half-mile to his home on Pribilof Loop, police spokeswoman Dani Myren said. Officers jailed Weinburger, 22, on charges of robbery, criminal mischief and theft.

"When they contacted the suspect he was wearing a shirt and some boxer shorts," Myren said.

It started about 1:30 a.m. at the Walmart on Eagle River Road when an assistant manager noticed Weinburger hide a pair of $20 windshield wiper blades in his clothing, Myren said. She and another employee confronted him about it, and Weinburger grabbed her arm, pushing her out of the way, Myren said. He ran to a set of doors at the building's west side, she said.

"At that time of night, apparently they have some doors that they secure," Myren said. "They heard gunshots, and later they discovered the shots had impacted around the door."

Weinburger ran back through the store, through some doors on the east side and out into the parking lot, Myren said. By then, an employee was calling police, she said.

Arriving officers set up a perimeter around the Walmart and used a dog to track Weinburger, who had apparently run behind the store and to a neighborhood, Myren said.

"They discovered clothing belonging to the suspect in some bushes at a neighboring house before finding the suspect at his own home in 19000 block Pribilof Loop," Myren said.

The clothes were under a hedge at Weinburger's next-door neighbor's house, Myren said.

On the street, the neighborhood is about a half-mile from Walmart. By foot, it is much closer.

Witnesses identified Weinburger as the suspect, Myren said. Police reports on the incident were still coming in later Tuesday, and it was unclear if officers found Weinburger with the gun or the wiper blades, she said.

"I'm sure it was very scary to people, but fortunately nobody was injured," Myren said.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.