At 6:38 PM on February 8, 2019, a 2012 black Chevy pickup was stolen from the owner’s workplace on the 700-block of W Dimond Boulevard. There was a shotgun inside the Chevy when the truck was taken. The unoccupied vehicle was recovered two days later in a business parking lot on the 200-block of Muldoon Road. The gun was missing when the pickup was found.
At 5:13 PM on July 10, 2019, a 2016 white Dodge Ram was reported as stolen to police. The owner had parked the vehicle in the parking lot of a medical clinic on the 3600-block of Lake Otis Parkway while attending a doctor’s appointment. When the owner went back outside afterwards, he discovered the vehicle was gone.
At 6:26 AM on July 18, 2019, a 2015 white Honda Pilot was reported as stolen to APD from the 16600-block of Southpark Bluff Lo. The vehicle was taken while parked in a residential garage in which the large overhead door had been left open.
At 8:41 AM on July 20, 2019, a 2015 dark blue Ford F150 was reported as stolen to police from the 4400-block of Traverse Way. The vehicle was parked in the owner’s driveway overnight at the time of the theft. The owner was uncertain of the location of the spare key fob for the truck.
Over three hours later, at 12:06 PM on July 20th, the Ford’s owner called Dispatch to report he had found his unoccupied vehicle parked in a residential driveway on the 4000-block of W 89th Court. Officers were unable to make contact with anyone inside the home; the vehicle was recovered.
Four hours later, at 4:20 PM on July 20th, police received information that the stolen Honda Pilot was parked at the same home where the stolen Ford had been recovered just a few hours earlier. Officers arrived and located the unoccupied vehicle parked in the driveway. Officers knocked on the door of the home several times but received no response. Witnesses contacted the officers on scene and stated they saw the occupants of the Honda go into the home.
A perimeter was set up around the house. After obtaining a search warrant officers made multiple announcements for the people inside to come out. When there was no compliance, officers breached the door. Eventually 35-year-old Lauren L. Stepetin emerged and was taken into custody. Afterwards officers entered the home wherein they heard a male call out to them from upstairs. The man, later identified as 30-year-old Dante D. Padilla, followed instructions and was taken into custody. A search of the home revealed the stolen Dodge Ram parked in the garage and the shotgun that was inside the Chevy pickup stolen back in February.
Lauren Stepetin and Dante Padilla were transported to the Anchorage Police Department for questioning by detectives; both were subsequently remanded at the Anchorage Jail.
Padilla was charged with two counts of Vehicle Theft I, Possession of Vehicle Theft Tools, Resisting, two counts of Theft II, Theft II – Access Device, Theft II – Firearm, and Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance IV (drugs found during the pat search). Padilla also had two outstanding felony warrants.
Stepetin was remanded for Felony Hindering.