A construction company donating time to frame a new house for the family of slain Fairbanks police Sgt. Allen Brandt discovered Wednesday morning that more than $5,000 of tools had been stolen overnight.
The tools were stored in an enclosed trailer that was fully secured with a hitch lock, tire locks and two padlocks on the door. Whoever stole the tools gained access by cutting the padlocks with bolt cutters, according to RT Lindner, owner of Johnson River Enterprises.
Stolen tools include two DeWalt air compressors and a DeWalt chop saw; four impact wrenches, two drills, a circular saw and finish nailer, all made by Milwaukee; and a Bostitch teco nail gun and four Bostitch framing nail guns. All tools are clearly marked with the company name and are valued at $5,000-$7,000, Lindner said.
Brandt was shot multiple times early on the morning of Oct. 16, 2016, while responding to a report of shots fired in downtown Fairbanks. He died 12 days later after undergoing surgery to remove shrapnel that lodged in his eye during the shooting. A Fairbanks jury convicted Brandt’s killer, Anthony Jenkins-Alexie, of several counts of murder April 4.
The effort to build a new, larger house in North Pole for Brandt’s widow and their four children started shortly after his death, said Fairbanks police Sgt. Bruce Barnett. Friends, co-workers and strangers came forward and offered time, labor, materials and money, and it wasn’t long before everything fell into place.
“There were so many people who wanted to help, which is understandable,” Barnett said.
Johnson River Enterprises offered to do the concrete work and exterior framing on the project. The company’s employees were finishing the exterior walls and roof when they discovered their tools had been stolen.
“We were doing a last-minute push to get it weathered in this week,” Lindner said by phone Wednesday afternoon. “It’s very unfortunate, but we just keep the bigger picture in mind and keep moving. We’re all out there doing what we think’s right.”
Multiple local contractors and individuals have volunteered for the project, which is being overseen by Travis Chase, an owner of Central Mechanical Inc., and Micah Degerlund, a project manager at Fountainhead Development Inc.
Volunteers will begin interior framing this weekend. Construction on the 2,200 square foot house is expected to be completed by September.
Anyone with information about the missing tools or the identity of the person or people who took them can call Alaska State Troopers at 451-5100.
Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7582. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.