Seward area law enforcement arrested two over the weekend on outstanding warrants after tracing one of them to a recent bicycle theft. Alaska State Troopers arrested Lucas McAlary and Michelle Maganack after tips led them to a vehicle that had been spotted at the scene of the crime.
McAlary allegedly admitted to stealing the bike, according to a trooper release on the case, and told law enforcement where they could find it. The bike was later recovered and returned to its owner, Sam Paperman, 15, who had saved money from a summer job to buy it, according to his mother, Dana Paperman.
The case involved tips from several residents, and provided a rare example of a theft ending in the prompt return of stolen property.
McAlary, 23, the suspect in several burglaries and thefts from last year, has been charged with another count of felony theft for the stolen bike, as well as misconduct with weapons. He has repeatedly failed to appear at court dates for a number of other felonies, including burglary and vehicle theft, according to online court records.
Meganack, 30, does not face any additional charges in the bike theft, but was wanted in connection with a January vehicle theft.
The case began with an April 28 hike to Tonsina Point. Dana Paperman and her husband, Dave, had just picked up the bike for their son and locked it in the back of the truck before hitting the trail. But when they returned, the truck had been broken into and the bike was gone.
“We have preached to him every day of his whole life: Lock up your bike. Put it in the garage. Do not leave it at school,” Dana Paperman said. “Now were dealing with this – oh my gosh we have to go home and tell Sam his bike was stolen, and on our watch.”
The Papermans reported the theft to law enforcement and also described the situation on the Facebook group Seward Crime Talk and Lost and Found. After a family friend called to report a suspicious vehicle seen at the trailhead around the same time, the Papermans updated their Facebook post with a description of the vehicle – which got the ball rolling.
Others began to post about seeing the same vehicle around town. A tip the next day brought Seward police and state troopers to the vehicle, which was parked in Seward at the time, Paperman said. (The troopers’ release does not specify the vehicle’s location.)
Trooper John King quickly recovered the bike and returned it to the family – just in time for Sam to come home to it, Paperman said.
“Dave texts me a picture of his bike on the porch and the rearview lights of a state trooper leaving our driveway,” she said. “Sam look at this look at this, your bike’s been recovered!”
Sam Paperman said he put “a whole summer’s worth of work” in to save toward buying the bike. On top of that, the theft came on the same day that he and his friends completed a workshop in bicycle mechanics.
“I kind of thought it was just going to be gone,” he said. “I’m pretty amazed that it was returned.”