Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 20:00
APD: Homestead crowd turned on officers

Anchorage police say that a standard bar check at the Homestead Lounge the night of Sept. 11 turned into a threatening situation during which officers pepper-sprayed patrons they described as hostile and aggressive.

Three men were arrested.

A representative of the bar, which is located inside Eagle River Bowl, did not return a call for comment.

The incident started around 10 p.m., according to a synopsis of police reports provided by APD spokeswoman Marlene Lammers.

Officers saw an “intoxicated female” sitting at the bar and walked toward her, but a man “slapped one of the officer’s arms” to block contact with the woman, Lammers said. At that point, the officers stated, at least a dozen and as many as 20 people surrounded them, according to their reports.

A man sitting with the woman at the bar approached one of the officers and became aggressive with him, Lammers said. Another officer overheard them and took the man to the ground, she said.

That’s when several other people approached and became hostile toward the officers, Lammers said. The officers said they repeatedly commanded those people to back up and disperse or risk getting pepper-sprayed. When they didn’t follow the instructions, the officers sprayed them.

Three Mat-Su residents were taken into custody: Loren Ripple Jr., 46, of Palmer, who was charged with disorderly conduct, assault on a police officer, and resisting/interfering with an officer; Reagan Sawyer, 30, of Palmer, charged with resisting/interfering with an officer and disorderly conduct; and Robert Hoch, 32, of Wasilla, also charged with resisting/interfering with an officer and disorderly conduct. Ripple was lodged at Anchorage Jail in lieu of $750 and release when sober. Sawyer and Hoch were jailed in lieu of $500 bail.

In an earlier, unrelated incident at the bar, a 22-year-old man from Eagle River told police on Sept. 7 that he was pushed down from behind and kicked by unknown suspects as he left the Homestead Lounge the night before around 2 a.m.


Carriers questioned in string of burglaries

Anchorage police said they stopped two daily newspaper carriers on Kaskanak Drive around 3:30 a.m. on Sept. 10 in reference to a string of burglaries and stolen vehicles in the area of Kaskanak and Talarik drives. Officers fingerprinted both carriers for “possible comparison of prints left behind at the scenes,” police spokeswoman Marlene Lammers said. But the two provided a tip, too: They saw a “suspicious” vehicle in the area - a black Chevrolet pickup - that drove off when one of them approached it, Lammers said. Both were cooperative, she said.


Skateboard rescue reveals stash

Anchorage police said a 21-year-old Eagle River man stopped for not having visible tail lights on Sept. 12 ended up being arrested on drug charges. Officers who stopped Ezekiel Coble at the Old Glenn Highway and North Juanita Loop noticed he was acting nervous, police spokeswoman Marlene Lammers said. When Coble said he didn’t have current insurance, the officers cited him and told him they were going to impound his 1987 Saab 900, Lammers said. Coble said he needed to fetch his skateboard from the trunk, but when it was opened “a strong odor of marijuana was detected,” she said. Coble admitted to having marijuana on him, and a search revealed a large amount of cash and marijuana in his front pockets, Lammers said. A bag in the car contained drug paraphernalia and additional marijuana, she said. Coble was arrested and charged with fourth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance. He was lodged at Anchorage Jail in lieu of $1,000 bail.


Truck fire could be arson

Anchorage police said a vehicle fire reported just after midnight on Sept. 13 appeared to be a possible arson. The vehicle was fully engulfed when officers arrived at the 16100 block of Artillery Road, police spokeswoman Marlene Lammers said. The fire appeared to have started in the front portion of the cab, and didn’t appear to be mechanically caused, Lammers said. The Anchorage fire department declared it a possible arson, she said. The registered owners of the vehicle told police they didn’t even know it was missing from their driveway.


DUI arrests

Anchorage police said they arrested Daniel Stout, 44, of Eagle River, for driving under the influence just before 2 a.m. on Sept. 9 after stopping him for speeding in a work zone while northbound on the Glenn Highway. Officers detected a strong odor of alcohol after contacting Stout, whose breath-alcohol level was estimated at nearly twice the legal limit, police spokeswoman Marlene Lammers said. He was lodged at Anchorage Jail in lieu of $1,000 bail.

On Sept. 11 around 12:30 a.m., police said they received a “locate” for a vehicle weaving all over the Glenn, nearly hitting a guardrail, Lammers said. Officers found the vehicle and arrested driver Eric Swensgard, 31, for driving under the influence. Swensgard’s breath-alcohol level was estimated at more than twice the legal limit, Lammers said. He was lodged at Anchorage Jail in lieu of $1,000 bail.

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