Crime & Courts

Anchorage police ask for help finding 3 suspects in armed robberies

Anchorage police are asking for the public's help in finding three men suspected of robbing two businesses on Monday, and later crashing a stolen SUV and fleeing from police on foot.

Tapoutaota Mataafa, 19, is suspected of robbing a Holiday Gas Station at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, and a Value Liquor at 9:30 p.m., with the help of two others who are as of now unidentified, police said in an alert.

Police say they were notified at 6:30 p.m. Monday that a man had walked into the Holiday Gas Station at 10630 Old Seward Highway with a gun, demanding money. A second man waited outside the front door. They left in a dark colored Chevy, or large GMC SUV, police said, with an undisclosed amount of money.

At 9:30 p.m., police got word of a robbery at Value Liquor on 7141 Jewel Lake Road. Police determined the suspects were the same men who robbed the gas station. A third suspect acted as lookout, police said. They again left in the same large SUV with an undisclosed amount of money.

At 4:40 a.m. the next morning, a vehicle that matched the one used in the robberies was seen near 15th Avenue and Gambell Street. Officers learned the vehicle was stolen, and tried making a traffic stop. The driver sped away, driving recklessly, and eluding officers until crashing the SUV near Elmore Road and 88th Avenue. The suspects fled on foot, police said.

Police set up a perimeter, where they questioned and released two men.

Police are asking the public's help in finding Mataafa and the two other suspects.

"All three are to be considered armed and dangerous," police said.

Anyone with information on their whereabouts or identities is asked to call 911 or leave an anonymous tip with Anchorage Crime Stoppers at (907) 561-7867.

Laurel Andrews

Laurel Andrews was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Dispatch. She left the ADN in October 2018.