“Life is completely not normal now.” Chugiak family’s life turned upside down by brazen burglary
A Chugiak family of three had their lives turned upside down during a weekend road trip to Seward.
Before Tina Willis left rainy Resurrection Bay, she slipped off the second step of the family camper and broke her leg. When she returned to her home Sunday night with her husband, young son and their four dogs, things got even worse.
Willis’ husband was looking for a way to bring her into the house on Sarah Circle with her injury, so he went to grab a wheelbarrow from the garage.
“He came out and said, ‘You’re not going to believe this: We’ve been robbed,’ ” Willis said Tuesday.
The family car was gone — along with television sets, jewelry, credit cards, all of the family’s keys and other assorted items. The family called police, who opened an investigation into the burglary at around midnight.
When the Willises later reviewed images from security cameras placed around their home, they found chilling evidence of what had happened. Willis said the cameras captured what appeared to be two people on her family’s property over the course of several hours Saturday morning.
And they caught something more.
“The first guy got there about two in the morning, he had a gun walking up the driveway,” she said.
The video shows what appears to be a man apparently armed with a rifle or pistol-grip shotgun brazenly walking up to the front door of the family’s home. Willis said other videos show someone climbing onto a roof and breaking into the kitchen. She shared the video of the man with a gun on social media in hopes of catching the perpetrator, and later turned screenshots over to APD.
Willis said the video appears to have captured at least two suspects.
On Monday, Willis spotted the vehicle on a street near her home and called police.
“I had a hunch,” she said in a Wednesday Facebook message.
When officers arrived, they found 24-year-old Erik F. Donhauser-Sagmoen of Anchorage behind the wheel. He allegedly refused commands for about 10 minutes, then got out and placed food atop the car before trying to get back inside. At that point he was Tased and arrested, police said.
On Wednesday, Donhauser-Sagmoen was arraigned on charges of burglary, felony DUI, vehicle theft, driving with a revoked/suspended/canceled license, and fourth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance. He was held on a temporary no-bail order.
Donhauser-Sagmoen has a lengthy rap sheet that includes a pending vehicle theft and violation of conditions of release case from March. Some of his past convictions include burglary, vehicle theft, criminal mischief, weapons misconduct, trespassing and DUI. On June 20, a petition for forfeiture of his performance bond was filed, and on June 29 a judge issued a temporary $10,000 cash/corporate appearance bond after Donhauser-Sagmoen failed to show up for a June 27 bail hearing.
A spokeswoman for APD said she did not know whether more suspects are being sought in the case.
Willis said the most disturbing part of the incident has been the loss of security.
“It’s just the fear they’d come back,” said Willis, who said she and her family have lived in their home for about 10 years.
The family has been losing sleep since the burglary, and Willis said her son wakes up frequently because he’s scared the thieves may return.
“It’s life changing,” she said.
Willis said the family has taken more security precautions: putting their other car up on blocks until they can get the locks changed and bolting down the garage door, among other measures.
Willis said another neighbor on Sunnyside also reported a burglary the same night. In that case, she said, the homeowner chased a burglar off by brandishing a firearm.
“Life is completely not normal right now. We’re just huddled in our living room.”
Email Star editor Matt Tunseth at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 907-257-4274.