An unknown thief sprayed bear deterrent on a dog in a car the thief broke into late Saturday, according to Alaska State Troopers.
The car belonged to a 28-year-old Ohio man and was parked at the Bird Creek parking area alongside the Seward Highway on Turnagain Arm, troopers said in a written statement. The man, whom troopers did not name, left his dog in the car with a few items, including a canister of bear spray, about 9 p.m. Saturday. He returned to find the car broken into and the dog sprayed just before midnight, troopers said.
"The dog was fine by the time we got there," Trooper Wyatt Derner said. "It sounds like the dog was in the vehicle, and they used the bear spray to spray the dog and took a few items out of the car."
The right rear window was broken out, and a fabric fishing bag and REI tent were missing, troopers said. The total value of the items stolen was roughly $250, Derner said.
People parking at trail heads or anywhere along the highway should avoid leaving valuables in parked cars or anything with sensitive personal information, like Social Security numbers, Derner said. Vehicle thefts seem to come and go in phases, he said.
"We're working on who's doing it this time. Hopefully, with the public's help, we'll figure out who it is," Derner said.
Anyone with information about recent thefts in the area is asked to call troopers at (907) 262-4453. Anonymous tips can be delivered to Crime Stoppers at (907) 561-STOP or www.anchoragecrimestoppers.com.
Reach Casey Grove at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4589.
By CASEY GROVE