Morning of violent, random crime leads to arrest in Anchorage

Jerzy Shedlock
Bob Hallinen

Anchorage police say they've arrested Travis Felder, 40, a man with a hefty rap sheet, after a violent crime spree Wednesday during which, police say, he sexually assaulted a female acquaintance, then forced his way into two local residences, made himself at home and physically assaulted two residents.

Police got a call around 9:40 a.m. from a woman reporting she'd been beaten and sexually assaulted in a storage unit off the 2200 block of Gambell Street by Felder, whom she reportedly knew. Police say the victim slept in the unit the previous night.

After the assault, the victim told police she fled to the manager's office of the storage business to call for help. "Meanwhile, Felder turned off the electricity to the storage complex, disabling the surveillance cameras," police reported. Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman Anita Shell said he did so by finding and switching off an electrical box.

Felder fled the area wearing a black bra and a pair of women's capri pants, police reported.

Shortly thereafter, police got another emergency call from a man saying "a black male, dressed as a woman and acting strangely, entered his residence without permission, went upstairs and laid down on his bed," police reported. The caller offered Felder a ride to Northern Lights Boulevard and Maplewood Street in an effort to get him to leave.

Shell said the man gave Felder a ride, and there was nothing to indicate he was erratic or threatening during the drive.

Less than an hour after the sexual assault report, the police department received a third call from a homeowner in the Eastridge subdivision off E. 20th Avenue and Lake Otis Parkway. The man and his wife, both in their mid-60s, were watching their 7-year-old grandchild when a man, who police say was Felder, entered the home wearing only a bra and began masturbating. He had tossed the capri pants into a tree near his third victims' home.

The couple asked Felder to leave, and he responded by striking the wife in the jaw, causing her to fall and severely injure her back. He also kicked the man in the chest before the couple and their grandchild escaped and called 911, after which Felder took a shower in their home, police reported.

"Police arrived to find Felder dressed in a pair of the homeowner's pajamas," police reported. Shell said he was arrested without incident.

Police said they believe Felder was high on drugs, possibly methamphetamine, during the violent and apparently random crime spree. He was arrested and charged with multiple counts of sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, evidence tampering, burglary, assault, and criminal trespass. He is being held at the Anchorage jail without bail.

Several officers and detectives worked late into the evening processing the three separate crime scenes and gathering evidence. Phone calls received from several people proved instrumental in Felder's arrest, they said.

Felder was sentenced to 17 years in prison in September 1992 when the gun he was using to pistol whip his victim discharged and accidently killed his accomplice, according to an Anchorage Daily News report at that time. He was originally charged with murder and attempted murder but pleaded no contest to reduced charges of manslaughter, assault, robbery and evidence tampering, the story says.

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