A Skagway man is in custody after allegedly on a vandalism spree and slashing the tires of most of the squad vehicles on the town’s police force and setting a police dispatcher’s car on fire.
Twenty-one-year old Casey Collom was arrested early Wednesday after a witness allegedly saw him slashing tires of the vehicles parked at the home of Skagway police chief Ray Leggett. The witness called 911, and then the dispatcher called the chief at home. According to court documents, the chief went outside to find tires slashed on his patrol vehicle, his personal vehicle and a third vehicle parked in his driveway.
The witness told police he saw Collom take a bike from another residence and peddle away. A short time later a police officer located Collom and after a struggle, arrested him. The officer writes in court documents that Collom had three steak knives and a box cutter on him. He also had with him two cans of beer and appeared intoxicated.
As police continued investigating, they discovered several other vehicles in the neighborhood with slashed tires, including three more police patrol vehicles parked at officers’ homes. Around the same time, the police dispatcher on duty discovered her personal vehicle was on fire and all four tires slashed.
As of Wednesday afternoon, police had discovered a total of 28 slashed tires they attributed to the spree.
Deb Potter was one of the residents who discovered the tires on her vehicle destroyed Wednesday morning. She had just woken up when she received a text message about the spree. Then she checked Facebook for scuttlebutt.
“After that I was lying in bed and thinking ‘Well, maybe I should go look at my car,’” Potter said. “That’s when I went outside and saw that two tires on the left hand side we slashed and then right around the corner my neighbor’s tires were slashed as well.”
Collom, a seasonal resident originally from Idaho, was arraigned in Skagway on Wednesday to face a total of 12 charges, including several for felony mischief. Lesser charges include theft and resisting arrest. Collom was also arrested in Skagway one week ago for drunken driving.
Chief Leggett said there were two squad cars not affected in the spree; one at home with another officer and the other on patrol. He said the department was able to have tires flown up from Juneau and all the patrol cars were operational again by the end of the day Wednesday.
But as for replacing the tires on personal vehicles, that task is not so easy. Normally, large items can be order from Juneau and sent via the ferry. But as Potter points out, with Skagway’s ferry dock still undergoing repairs from recently sinking, and is not scheduled to reopen until May 11.
“I know, right? What do I do?” Potter said. “It’s not like I can catch somebody getting on the ferry to come back up from Juneau to bring me tires.”
Potter said some residents are talking about placing a joint order for tires and having them shipped on the weekly barge, or traveling to Whitehorse to buy them.
Leggett said he wasn’t as upset about the incident seemingly targeted at his police force as he was impressed by the amount of people willing to help. He said several people volunteered their time and tools to help replace tires. And someone volunteered their car for the police dispatcher whose car was set on fire.
“We’re just grateful for the support of the community,” Leggett said.
Collom has been transported to Lemon Creek Correctional facility in Juneau and is being held on $3,000 cash bail.