Rabinowitz Courthouse

The Rabinowitz Courthouse in Fairbanks, Alaska, in May 2011.

A jury trial for a woman accused of waving a gun around a local bar last year came to a sudden halt Tuesday when the woman stole the gun from the courtroom, left the courthouse and hid the gun in the snow near the downtown footbridge.

Tiffany Flenaugh, 29, was arrested by Fairbanks police as she attempted to reenter the Rabinowitz Courthouse without the gun, according to Alaska State Trooper Sgt. Chuck Inderrieden.

Flenaugh was out of custody and on trial for three counts of felony third-degree assault, fourth- and fifth-degree weapons misconduct, resisting arrest and violating conditions of release. The charges stemmed from an Oct. 21, 2018, incident at the Big International Hotel and Bar in which Flenaugh allegedly began waving a loaded pistol around after being cut off from being served alcohol because she was too intoxicated. Flenaugh reportedly fought with three bouncers and also fought with police after they responded to the incident. 

According to Inderrieden, Flenaugh’s Taurus .45-caliber pistol had been introduced as evidence in the trial and was unloaded and secured with a zip tie. It was sitting in an evidence box near the judge’s desk during a break in the trial Tuesday afternoon, and only Flenaugh, the prosecutor and the judge’s in-court clerk were in the courtroom. 

Flenaugh got up and approached the evidence box and began fiddling around with it. The assistant district attorney prosecuting the case told her to stop, and Flenaugh did so. Flenaugh left the courtroom, got in an elevator and calmly walked through the lobby and outside. 

Meanwhile, the ADA and clerk looked in the evidence box and discovered Flenaugh had taken the gun and left a set of court headphones in its place. They alerted Judicial Services officers, who are armed Department of Public Safety officers working under Inderrieden to guard in-custody defendants and take care of disturbances in and around the courthouse. They notified police and Flenaugh was arrested outside the courthouse a short time after leaving it. 

Flenaugh was charged by troopers with felony second-degree theft, possessing a firearm in the courthouse, tampering with physical evidence and violating conditions of release. She was booked into Fairbanks Correctional Center and is currently in custody.

It is unclear at this time if Flenaugh’s trial will resume today as scheduled. 

Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7582. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.