Crime & Courts

Man who cut his hand during Anchorage pawnshop robbery arrested, officials say

A man who left blood behind when he cut his hand trying to smash a glass case during an Anchorage pawnshop robbery was arrested this week on federal charges, authorities say.

The Cash America store on Fireweed Lane was robbed April 24 by three masked men who brandished weapons at employees and customers and told them not to move, according to federal charges of interference of commerce by force filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court. The men stole 34 pieces of jewelry and eight firearms: seven handguns and one assault-style rifle.

One man cut his hand after he tried to break a glass case with the butt of a handgun, according to a sworn affidavit from Special Agent Thomas King with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The same man fired a shot from his pistol as he tried to smash the glass.

Terrance Kaleo Paleka, 18, was arrested this week after a break in the case came via an unrelated Anchorage Police Department stolen vehicle investigation, King wrote. Police arrested Paleka and another man Tuesday and found one of the stolen guns in the other man's possession and Paleka wearing a gray cap that had been captured on surveillance video at the pawnshop.

Paleka admitted he participated in the Cash America robbery and that he cut his hand, "and said to the effect, that he knew he would be caught because his DNA was on the scene," the agent wrote.

Paleka told investigators he planned the robbery and enlisted the other two but refused to identify them, the document says. But after the robbery, he said, he got scared he'd be caught with the stolen firearms — his cut of the loot — so he took them apart and scattered them around Anchorage.

Paleka also faces state charges of theft and robbery, according to a state courts database.

A representative for Cash America in Alaska declined to comment. A corporate spokeswoman couldn't immediately be reached for this article.

Zaz Hollander

Zaz Hollander is a veteran journalist based in the Mat-Su and is currently an ADN local news editor and reporter. She covers breaking news, the Mat-Su region, aviation and general assignments. Contact her at