Suspect arrested, tries to run, but recaptured

Even though he tried to escape twice, Alaska State Troopers and Homer Police last week tracked down, caught and recaptured an Anchor Point man wanted as a person of interest in several crimes in Homer. 

Troopers arrested Dellan Vanbuskirk, 30, on the afternoon of Jan. 22 at a Mark Lane home in Anchor Point.

Vanbuskirk had an arrest warrant on a Dec. 26 charge of driving while license revoked as well as for parole violations. He faces additional charges of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and third-degree attempted escape. On Monday, a petition to revoke probation also was filed for a 2010 burglary conviction.

According to a criminal complaint by Trooper John Probst, Vanbuskirk ran away from troopers when they contacted him at about 12:45 p.m. Friday. Troopers caught Vanbuskirk after a half-mile foot chase.

Then on Saturday, Jan. 23, while being driven by a Homer jail officer up to Wildwood Pretrial Facility in Kenai, Vanbuskirk tried to escape after the officer, Matt Haney let him out of the van to vomit. Vanbuskirk tried to run away when he was getting back in the van. Haney quickly caught up with Vanbuskirk and he stopped, said Homer Police Chief Mark Robl. Vanbuskirk was handcuffed but not wearing leg irons.

“You can make an argument that he should have been shackled,” Robl said. “I guarantee he will be whenever we move him again.”

Homer Police last Friday morning put out a press release seeking information on Vanbuskirk’s whereabouts. Robl identified Vanbuskirk as a suspect in several
recent Homer crimes, but didn’t identify the crimes.

“I will say we are concerned about his recent conduct and believe he poses a significant enough threat to the public to justify taking this step in asking the public to help us locate him,” Robl wrote in an email with the press release.

On Monday, Robl said Vanbuskirk’s involvement with those cases are still under investigation.

After Homer newspapers and radio stations put out the alert about Vanbuskirk on web sites and social media, Homer Police got a tip about Vanbuskirk.

“Our little media campaign worked,” Robl said.

The tipster said Vanbuskirk had been seen with another person at a business in Anchor Point. Based on the description of the other person, troopers identified that person. That lead troopers to the Mark Lane address. 

Trooper Probst wrote in his complaint that when he approached the home, he saw through the front door windows a female relative of Vanbuskirk. Vanbuskirk tried to hide behind the woman. Vanbuskirk ran out the back of the house and Probst grabbed him. In a struggle, Vanbuskirk ran away and into the woods. Other troopers and Homer Police responded and caught Vanbuskirk after about a half-mile chase.

The Dec. 26 driving-while-license-revoked charge came about after troopers stopped a Subaru Legacy sedan on the Sterling Highway near La Duquesa Road in Anchor Point for people not wearing seatbelts. When the car stopped, a man about 5-feet-8-inches with a thin build ran off. Thinking he was another wanted suspect, Trooper Paul Frederick tried to catch him, but gave up when he realized the driver was not the man he thought. One of the people in the car was Vanbuskirk’s girlfriend. 

On Jan. 19, Frederick found out there was a probation investigation regarding Vanbuskirk and realized one woman the trooper had contacted in the Subaru was Vanbuskirk’s girlfriend. The same female relative of Vanbuskirk who had been at the Mark Lane house when he was caught also was in the car. Frederick got photos of Vanbuskirk and identified him as the driver of the Subaru. Vanbuskirk also has a revoked driver’s license and was wanted by probation for violating the terms of his release relating to a November 2010 burglary and assault. Robl said Vanbuskirk has missed meetings with his parole officer.

In 2010 incident, Vanbuskirk and another man broke into a second-story hotel room in downtown Homer. Police said the men wore masks and attacked a couple sleeping in the room. A female victim in that attack said she screamed, fought back and tore off the mask of the man attacking her. The male victim told police he woke up and got Vanbuskirk in a bear hug and that Vanbuskirk dragged him out onto a balcony and down stairs. 

The victim’s face was bloody and bruised, police said. The couple later identified Vanbuskirk and the other man. The male victim said he had loaned Vanbuskirk $100 earlier and that Vanbuskirk knew he had $1,000 on him.

Charges of conspiracy, robbery and attempted theft were dismissed against the second man and Vanbuskirk. Vanbuskirk pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary and fourth-degree assault.

Robl said that on Saturday while Haney drove Vanbuskirk up to Kenai, Vanbuskirk said he was sick. That turned out to be legitimate and not a ruse, Robl said.

“There’s a risk with someone choking to death in the back of the van,” Robl said. “We try to balance that and do the right thing.”

Haney stopped the van near the Kasilof Post Office, and let Vanbuskirk out to throw up behind the post office. Vanbuskirk was the only prisoner in the van. When he went to get back in the van, he put one foot in the doorway, pushed off and ran away. Haney caught up with him as Vanbuskirk took off along the side of the road. According to a criminal complaint, Vanbuskirk stopped when Haney yelled, “Don’t make me shoot you.” Vanbuskirk was charged with third-degree escape, a misdemeanor.

Vanbuskirk remains at Wildwood Pretrial Facility.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at