Bunny Fleeks was alone, sorting out the mess from a burglary at her house, when she heard a voice upstairs on Monday. It was an intruder.
The 61-year-old stage actress, who had been out of town for work, grabbed a nearby baseball bat, called police and told the intruder to stay put. Fleeks thought about the handgun that she kept hidden in her upstairs bedroom, but she was not afraid, she said.
“I was furious,” she said. “There were people who had come into my home. This has been our family home for decades. They had stolen things. They had ransacked it, and they were still in my house. No, no, no. This stops. This stops right now.”
The intruders appeared to have been coming and going for weeks while Fleeks was performing the part of Williamina Fleming in “Silent Sky” at a playhouse in Juneau. A window was left open, and Fleeks’ two-story dwelling on 10th Avenue, which her late parents purchased in the 1970s, froze up.
When police arrived, it came to light there were two intruders, both women, and a standoff occurred after one barricaded herself in a room, Fleeks said. Alaska State Troopers arrived to provide backup along with a canine unit. Guns were drawn. Fleeks said she waited in the kitchen.
Two women were arrested. Court records show 31-year-old Kia Ned and 24-year-old Larisa Silas were charged with trespassing. The investigation is continuing, and more charges are pending, according to authorities and court records.
The identity of a third suspect, a man who Fleeks named on social media, has not yet been confirmed by police.
Fleeks, a Fairbanks resident since the 1960s after the U.S. Army stationed her late father at Fort Wainwright, is staying in a hotel as she copes with the aftermath. Friends are helping, and Fleeks is still figuring out how the burglary and damage to her home will affect her finances. She will need to replace her heating system, she said. There is evidence the intruders made use of her bed.
“They were partying up in my bedroom. That bed is the first thing to go,” Fleeks said.
She sat in her living room, bundled up, on Wednesday with a space heater doing little to warm the frigid air. The intruders stole some of Fleeks’ cold-weather gear, including her mukluks, she said.
Fairbanks police officer Phil James walked around taking photos and looking for evidence.
Fleeks looked down and saw a cigarette butt on the living room carpet. She doesn’t smoke or allow smoking in her home. James put on gloves, removed a zip-close bag from his pocket, picked up the butt and put it in the bag.
All around were boxes, bags, suitcases and laundry baskets full of Fleeks’ and her housemate’s things, including Fleeks’ ample stash of Kleenex from Costco. Fleeks discovered her tea had been stolen.
Fleeks said her housemate was also away, working in rural Alaska.
“They stole my coats,” Fleeks said. “They were trying to steal my pots and pans.”
Random items had been packed up to make it easier to eventually carry them out of the house.
“They had this whole place staged,” she said. “They were clearly going to keep at it .”
Also reportedly stolen: cash, checks, jewelry and electronics, including a record player, and a bracelet that was left to Fleeks by her grandmother.
Fleeks had lined up a house sitter, who canceled at the last minute, before heading to Juneau, she said. A backup house sitter called her on Christmas Eve to inform her that the house had frozen up but didn’t mention anything about a burglary.
Fleeks arrived back home last week, registered at a hotel and fell ill. She spent a few days recovering in her hotel room and became aware that the situation was worse than a frozen house after her bank called about a man writing checks off her account.
“It feels like not mine,” she said, looking around the home where she grew up and where her parents spent their last days. “I don’t know how much work it’s going to take to feel like my home again.”
Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7545. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMborough.