Wrangell Police have charged a local man with seven felony counts for allegedly stealing at least nine cars and trucks earlier this month.
Lief Bosdell also faces three misdemeanor counts. He is in custody and an arraignment hearing is scheduled for later this month.
The vehicles were driven hard and some had considerable damage. Police Chief Doug McCloskey estimates the total at $25,000 to $30,000.
One car was burned. But McCloskey said it wasn’t arson.
“We believe it was just where he was driving and where it ended up parked. It ended up stuck in some tall grass and it appears that probably the exhaust system of the car caught the grass on fire and ultimately set the car on fire,” he said.
All seven felony charges are for vehicle theft. The three misdemeanor charges are for criminal mischief, which includes tampering with property.
McCloskey said Bosdell discussed the crimes with police, but didn’t provide a clear motive, other than that he wanted to drive. The chief said his department has not yet determined whether alcohol or drugs were contributing factors.
McCloskey said Bosdell became a suspect early on, but was not arrested at the scene of any of the crimes.
“He was scheduled at an interview and came in. His dad brought him in. He was interviewed and subsequently arrested,” he said.
The police chief said no one else is suspected of involvement in the thefts. Bosdell’s first court appearance was June 9. Arraignment is scheduled for June 26.
Wrangell is an island community of about 2,300 in central Southeast Alaska.