Crime & Justice

Juneau police say alcohol played a part in Capitol flag theft

JUNEAU -- The theft of two flags from the roof of the Alaska Capitol doesn't appear to be a political statement, according to Juneau police, who say alcohol was involved.

Juneau police say three men had been drinking in downtown bars when they got the idea to use the scaffolding on the Capitol renovation project to get to the roof and take the United States and Alaska flags.

"They were just out drinking and for whatever reason they decided to go out in the construction site and take the flags," said Lt. Dave Campbell, spokesman for the department.

"Alcohol was definitely involved," he said.

After the flags were discovered missing, legislative security released surveillance photos of the three men entering the fenced construction site.

On Tuesday, two of the three came to the police and admitted what they'd done, Campbell said.

"They were very apologetic and chalked it up to being out drinking and doing something they shouldn't have," Campbell said.

Police are not releasing the suspects' names until charges are filed, he said.

The third suspect is expected to be interviewed soon, Campbell said Wednesday.

All three are facing trespass and larceny charges, but have not been arrested, Campbell said, because the charges are nonviolent misdemeanors.

While Campbell declined to identify the suspects, he said one is 24 years old and the other is 26 years old.

None are from Juneau, he said.

"Apparently they are in town working for the summer in the tourist industry," Campbell said.

The flags were not recovered and appear to have been discarded somewhere in Juneau's downtown area, he said. Damages, including the cost of the flags and the ropes that were cut to remove them, came to $434, he said.