Serial burglar apprehended on UAF campus
Andrew Sheeler / Sun Star Reporter
July 11, 2011
Police have detained a man whom they believe to be behind a string of recent thefts on campus. Charles Bottler Jr., 20, of Fairbanks was arrested by UAFPD on June 25 after being spotted on campus in violation of a criminal trespass order. Bottler Jr. was detained and confessed to stealing from several on-campus vehicles, court records say. The reported thefts began on June 15 and ran all the way through June 23.
The authorities believe the theft occurred in the Hess Village family housing parking lot, some time on June 15. Bottler Jr. reportedly stole four sealed boxes and a sealed bubble mailer from an unlocked car. Contents of the stolen packages included: four German chocolate bars, a bag of cookies, a bag of chocolate popcorn, a small crystal vase, a bird house, 15 VHS tapes with recorded shows, a $50 check, a DVD/VHS player and several personal photographs.
The second theft occurred a day later, this time in the West Hess Village parking lot located behind the Moore-Bartlett-Skarland dorm complex. Another vehicle was broken in to, and Bottler Jr. allegedly stole a duffel bag containing a computer and several computer accessories.
A security camera caught a man bearing Bottler Jr.’s likeness stealing from vehicles in the North Upper Dorms parking lot on the night of June 21 and again on the night of June 22. Both times, the same vehicle was targeted. An iTouch, an iPod and $25 were stolen over the course of the two nights.
An off-duty campus safety officer spotted Bottler Jr. on campus on the evening of June 25 and recognized him as being banned from campus property. Bottler Jr., a former UAF janitor with contracted cleaning service GCA, was also identified by two of his former co-workers.
Police say that Bottler Jr. admitted to the thefts, after being read his Miranda rights. He led police to a spot in the woods near the Hess Village parking lot, where he had left the opening packages stolen on June 15. He then allowed police to enter his home, where police recovered the DVD player believed stolen from the Hess Village lot and a duffel bag containing the stolen computer and many of its accessories. Both the computer and the DVD player had been partially disassembled. A monitor that was stolen could not be found.
Bottler Jr. is charged with theft in the third degree and criminal trespass in the second degree. Both are misdemeanor offenses.