This past week, the Alaska State Troopers placed a ‘bait trailer’ along the Parks Highway. After three weeks of leaving it in various spots, Troopers reported that they were “thrilled that no one gave in to temptation. But alas, on the day we were going to pick it up, someone decided to help themselves… they wound up with a felony theft charge instead of a new-to-them trailer.”
On 10/20/2020 at approximately 0835 hours, Alaska State Troopers were notified that the “bait trailer” placed by AST at mile 305 of the Parks Highway in a pull out just north of the Nenana Bridge, had been taken. At approximately 1000 hours, AST located the Pick-up truck hauling the bait trailer and conducted a traffic stop at mile 252 of the Parks Highway. The driver was identified as Steven Munguia, 21 of Anchorage, and the passenger was identified as Miroslav Mujica-Peraza, 32 of Anchorage. After confirming that the trailer was the one that belonged to the Department of Public Safety and after interviews, both Munguia and Mujica-Peraza were arrested for Theft in the second degree, which is a felony, and were remanded to FCC in Fairbanks.
There are many reasons why motorists may have to temporarily leave vehicles or trailers safely parked on the side of the highway or in a pullout. The Alaska State Troopers strongly encourage the public to not assume property left along our roadways is abandoned. If property appears to be a safety hazard or abandoned, make a report to the Alaska State Troopers or the closest local law enforcement agency. Do not take the property if you are not the owner or don’t have the owner’s permission. The Alaska State Troopers routinely conduct proactive enforcement efforts, like using a bait trailer, to deter vehicle thefts and criminal activity statewide.