Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Gas, stereos stolen from Mud Bay cars


One or more thieves have been targeting the end of Mud Bay Road, siphoning gas from vehicles and stealing belongings from tools to boat trailers.

Several residents living across Mud Bay said their vehicles were recently targeted while parked adjacent to the bay.

Dana VanBurgh, who has lived across the bay for nearly a decade, had a six-gallon red jug full of gas and a box of car tools stolen from the back of his pick-up truck. The truck had a shell on it, VanBurgh said, so the thief or thieves had to get in and dig around.

VanBurgh guessed the theft happened a week or two ago. He was especially upset about the stolen gas. “It was premium gas for my motorcycle. I paid the extra dough for it,” VanBurgh said.

Resident Tim Hockin also had fuel siphoned out of his motorcycle, which had been parked alongside the road.

Before they discovered the motorcycle fuel theft, though, Hockin and partner Melina Shields discovered their stereo had been yanked out of their 1987 Toyota.

 “I didn’t think I lived in a neighborhood where you had to worry about getting your car stereo stolen,” said Shields, who has lived across the bay for three years.

Burl Sheldon also recently reported a boat trailer stolen from a residence near where the pavement stops out Mud Bay Road.

Sheldon had parked the trailer, which is owned by several people, outside a garage at the house. On May 17, he noticed it missing. The homeowners knew nothing about the theft. “We think it has been stolen,” he said.

“We’re hopeful that something positive will happen, that someone will bring it back,” he said. “Basically, all the subsistence fishing for about four families happens out of that boat.”

The trailer is a King bunk-style trailer that can haul a 20-foot vessel.

Sheldon, who has lived across the bay for nearly two decades, said this isn’t the first time thieves have targeted the area.

“Periodically, there have been problems there. I think somebody lost a boat motor one time. Somebody lost a canoe or a kayak or two. People come by there and take stuff. It’s not hard,” Sheldon said.

“It’s not something people seem to have concern about during the wintertime, but as new people come to town, I guess some of those people are not reputable and are looking for opportunities like this,” he added.

Shields and VanBurgh said while they’ve never had a problem with people breaking into their vehicles, animals have been a different story. Last fall, a bear dragged Shields’ Halloween costume out of her truck, and the year before, one broke her car window and stole a loaf of bread.

Now, residents are changing their habits.

“I’m definitely locking more stuff up or not leaving it there,” VanBurgh said.  

Trooper Andrew Neason said he is investigating but can’t determine when the thefts occurred or if more than one person was involved.

“It looks like what they did is go and work their way down the line (of vehicles),” Neason said.

More than two dozen cars in downtown Haines were broken into during a single night last June. Charges have yet to be brought in that case.

Anyone with knowledge about the thefts should call Neason at 766-2552.