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New AST Unit Makes New Year’s Day Arrests in ATM Theft

Published On: Jan 02 2014 08:04:24 AM AKST   Updated On: Jan 02 2014 08:23:38 AM AKST

A new Alaska State Troopers unit devoted to reining in Mat-Su Valley property crimes hit the jackpot during its first day of operations, netting a stolen ATM on New Year’s Day.

According to a Wednesday AST dispatch, two Palmer men suspected in the theft -- Luc Mackie and Almando Abarca, both 22 -- were arrested by troopers with the Criminal Suppression Unit, following an investigation of an intrusion alarm at a business on the Palmer-Wasilla Highway.

“Investigation determined two individuals had broken a window, entered the business, and stole an ATM filled with cash,” troopers wrote. “The ATM and all the money (were) recovered.”

AST spokesperson Megan Peters was gathering further information on the incident Thursday morning, but says that investigators may choose not to reveal where it took place.

"Sometimes we don't put out the business of a theft, because we don't want to make them more of a target," Peters said.

In a statement last month AST says the Criminal Suppression Unit, formed with funding from Gov. Sean Parnell and the state Legislature, was slated to begin work Jan. 1. At least four troopers have already been assigned to the unit, which will conduct “directed patrols in areas of known criminal activity.”

Mackie and Abarca are charged with one second-degree count each of both burglary and theft, with Mackie also arrested on a previous warrant for leaving the scene of a crash and tampering with evidence. The men are being held at the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility on $5,000 bail each, with both requiring a court-approved third-party custodian for release.