Anchorage police arrested a man Tuesday for the theft of more than $66,000 in surveying equipment from his former employer, in a case which broke when an honest buyer purchased the stolen goods at a storage auction similar to those seen on the TV series “Storage Wars.”
APD spokesperson Lt. Dave Parker says the buyer of the storage unit, Quality 1st Services owner James Day, spent a pittance for its contents relative to their value. While Day could have walked away with a big profit, like the buyers on the A&E television show, the goods he was looking at were marked.
“The $770 he spent at the auction was nothing in comparison to the value of the high end surveying instruments the unit held,” Parker wrote in a Thursday statement on the case. “Some of the tools had the owner’s name on them and James contacted West Construction Company to let them know he had recovered their equipment. James was willing to just give them back their stolen goods, but West covered the auction cost and gave James a reward for his trouble.”
An investigation quickly focused on the renter of the storage unit, 32-year-old former West Construction employee Brett Lacey. APD burglary detective Steve Oyler arrested Lacey for the theft of the West equipment as well as $1,000 of electrical testing equipment from Norcon, a business neighboring West.
Parker credited Day, whose house had been burglarized in November 2011 while he and his wife were plowing out customers, with breaking the case. The burglary of Day’s home had also been assigned to Oyler, who recovered a diamond ring stolen during the incident and arrested Travis Hardon for that crime.
“The identifying information from West Construction and Norcom and the honesty of James Day enabled the detective to solve this case and assure the return of the stolen items to their proper owners,” Parker wrote.
Lacey has been charged with first-degree and second-degree theft. At the time of his arrest he was already in custody on unrelated charges.
Editor's note: The names of James Day's business and Norcon have been changed from the versions initially released by APD.
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