Wednesday, December 10, 2008

TNB Alert: Benjamin Wallace Rucker Sought As Person Of Interest In At Least Two Anchorage Carjackings And Robberies

Update December 12th: Benjamin Rucker arrested by Anchorage Police and charged with robbery, assault, and vehicle theft. Updated post HERE.

The Anchorage Police Department is seeking 34-year-old Benjamin Wallace Rucker as a person of interest in at least two carjackings and robberies taking place in Anchorage on December 10th, 2008. A third carjacking took place earlier in the evening of December 9th. Rucker is described as a black male, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, 220 pounds and may have a shaved head or short hair. Media stories in the Anchorage Daily News, KTUU Channel 2, and KTVA Channel 11.

Click HERE to view photo of Rucker.

The first carjacking crime reported may not even involve Rucker. Late on December 9th, police were called to the north side of town to the 6200 block of Debarr Road. A man was shot in the leg during a robbery and his Jeep Cherokee was stolen. Anchorage Police Lieutenant Dave Parker said, “From our understanding at this point it was a robbery of an individual at a residence or close to a residence, and they ended up taking the vehicle that he had possession of”. This crime was only reported by KTVA Channel 11, and not by the Anchorage Daily News. Update: This crime is no longer considered part of Rucker's crime spree, and is being investigated separately.

The second crime took place in the 800 block of West 7th Avenue around 12:45 A.M., when two men stole an SUV, injuring the owner during the carjacking. The owner's Akita dog was in the vehicle. Two hours later, the SUV was found abandoned at the Tesoro station on Abbott Road, which had just been robbed, minus the Akita. The robber abandoned the SUV when he stalled it.

The robber then flagged another SUV and punched its driver in the face, trying to steal that vehicle as well. That vehicle "died" on Abbott Road, police said, and the suspect, a man accompanied by a woman with long hair, escaped on foot. Police said their footprints were eliminated by plows doing snow removal.

Rucker is believed to be involved in at least the latter two crimes. The fact that ADN already had a photo of Rucker implies he may have a criminal record. While I could find no verification, a commenter to the ADN story revealed that Wallace has "racked up weapons charges, theft, DUI, resisting, eluding and auto theft". On December 12th, the Alaska Standard revealed that Rucker has been charged with crimes on 19 previous occasions in Alaska alone. Anyone who knows where Rucker might be is asked to call Anchorage Police at 907-786-8900. Police are also looking for the green 2000 Jeep Cherokee, license number FML 359. If you know anything, please call crime stoppers at 561-STOP.

KTVA also included some tips for the public to minimize the risk of being carjacked. They suggest keeping your vehicle doors locked and windows closed while driving, and to avoid having both your vehicle and house keys on the same key ring in case it does go with your car. A police spokesperson also suggested that you keep your cell phone handy and call police if you see anything that looks suspicious. In addition, keep some space in between you and the car in front of you at a stoplight, in case you need to maneuver out of a situation. Note that two of these crimes did NOT happen in "bad" areas of town, so the possibility of a carjacking can exist nearly anywhere in Anchorage. View this APD crime map to get an idea about the geographical distribution of different types of crime in Anchorage.

Robust discussion is taking place in the comments section of the Anchorage Daily News story. One commenter posted a link to the Department of Justice site which shows national crime statistics from 2005 stratified by race. These stats show that the homicide victimization rates for blacks are six times higher than the rates for whites, and that the offending rate for blacks is seven times higher than that for whites. Additional information on black crime archived on the Vanguard News Network Forum.

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