Police dog helps catch car theft suspects in bog chase

Devin Kelly
Anchorage Police Department

An Anchorage police dog was credited with helping catch two suspects in a car theft after they led officers on a chase through a Muldoon park early Thursday morning.

About 4:20 a.m., a police officer near Baxter Road and East Northern Lights Boulevard spotted a Toyota 4Runner reported stolen from an East Anchorage home a day earlier, police spokeswoman Dani Myren wrote in a statement Friday. After the officer followed the SUV to the end of the street, the two men inside -- later identified as Anchorage residents Chaz Shanigan, 18, and Allen Hoover, 23 -- jumped out and dashed off onto the Baxter Bog trails, Myren said.

As other officers set up a perimeter, Aerie, a 21/2-year-old Belgian Malinois, went with his handler into the bog, wading through knee-deep water, Myren said. It was cold and wet, and a layer of ice on top of the bog added to the difficulty of tracking the suspects, Myren said.

The tracking effort led first to Hoover, identified as the passenger in the SUV, on one of the trails, Myren said. Officers arrested Hoover, who faces a misdemeanor charge of riding in a stolen vehicle.

It took a bit longer to track down the second suspect, who apparently ran through the bog and wove through a residential neighborhood, she said. The track went cold several times, but Aerie and the officer waded through the trees and swamp water toward the north end of the bog.

After leaving the bog toward Tayshee Circle, the duo went into the neighborhood and eventually found Shanigan, who was in the backyard of a home hiding under a deck, Myren said.

"It was certainly noteworthy from a complexity perspective," Myren said of Aerie's tracking.

Shanigan, identified as the driver of the SUV, was arrested and charged with felony vehicle theft. The stolen vehicle was recovered, and police contacted the owner, Myren said.

Aerie has been a member of the Anchorage Police Department's K-9 unit since December 2012.

Reach Devin Kelly at dkelly@adn.com or 257-4314.