A man suspected of burglarizing two Alaska businesses was delayed in his get-away by locking his keys in his car. A call to a cab company helped open the car but also led to his identification.
Surveillance video of the burglary and the taxi led police in North Pole, a city 14 miles south of Fairbanks, to seek a warrant for 27-year-old Joseph Michael Barria, who is suspected of stealing tools, stereo equipment and other property from a laundry and a fitness business.
The Jan. 6 video shows a man carrying items from the businesses into his car, then pulling his car closer to the door. Later, a cab arrives to help the man open the locked car.
"There's pretty good surveillance video there," said Steve Dutra, chief of the North Pole Police Department. The same surveillance system had been used in a kidnapping case. "It covers the entire parking lot and the highway," Dutra said.
From the cab company, police obtained Barria's cellphone number and name.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports police recovered $3,500 worth of tools stolen from the laundry in the trunk of Barria's car.
Barria was not immediately arrested.
Prosecutors on Wednesday filed criminal charges of burglary while armed with a gun, felony theft and misdemeanor mischief charges. A Fairbanks judge issued a $10,000 warrant for Barria's arrest.
The surveillance video indicated Barria was carrying a handgun and Dutra urged caution in approaching him.
"We have no indication he's going to be hostile toward civilians, but yes, I would say, if he's sighted, please call local law enforcement," Dutra said.