Sitka Fugitive Found in Tunnel

By SHANNON HAUGLAND

Sentinel Staff Writer

Sitka police arrested a man wanted on criminal warrants Wednesday after finding him hiding in what they called “an elaborate tunnel system” under a trailer at Vitskari Trailer Court.

 

Landlord Marcel Prato, left, reacts as he and Sitka Police Lt. Lance Ewers, right, look at tunnels dug under a trailer owned by Prato, this morning in Vitskari trailer park. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Jeremy Beebe, 42, was being sought for failing to report to the police department on Jan. 12 following his conviction on theft, criminal mischief and felony drug charges, Lt. Lance Ewers said.

Acting on a tip, Ewers and fellow officers conducted a stakeout at the trailer park starting at 3 p.m. Wednesday, and at 7:30 p.m. they spotted Beebe going into the trailer. The woman who answered the door said Beebe was not there and that she didn’t know where he was.

On the outside of the mobile home the officers found a plywood door to a crawl space or basement. After receiving no answer to their knock they used a battering ram to get through the door, which opened onto a dug-out space high enough to enter on foot.

But as officers walked farther into the tunnel it narrowed and they had to proceed on their knees, and finally on their stomachs. Shining a light ahead, they could see Beebe, in a hoodie, facing them. He continued to back away until he was out of sight.

 

Fearing he would escape, officers went around to the other side of the trailer, where they spotted Beebe’s foot sticking out of another hidden entrance. An officer grabbed him by the ankle but Beebe disappeared again under the trailer. He was finally caught after one of the officers peeled back the skirting around the trailer, saw the suspect’s face and pulled him out by his upper body.

Ewers said the incident was over by 9:30 or 10 p.m.

Ewers said it was important to capture Beebe, who had been sentenced to 21 months in prison on charges of stealing and destroying items, and using drugs.

Beebe may now be facing additional charges of contempt of court for failing to remand to the jail as required, the lieutenant said.

Vitskari Trailer Court is on Vitskari Street, at the end of Burkhart Street.

“The city building inspector examined the tunnel system (today) and deemed the residence uninhabitable due to safety concerns,” police said today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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