WASILLA — Todd Palin’s half-sister was arrested Thursday after police say she broke into a Wasilla home to steal money for the second time this week but ended up getting caught by the armed homeowner. The woman’s 4-year-old daughter was nearby, police said.
Todd Palin is Gov. Sarah Palin’s husband. He referred questions to a spokeswoman for the governor, who said the family would have no comment.
Police arrested 35-year-old Diana Palin at a house on West Mill Site Circle near Wasilla’s Multi-Use Sports Complex.
Homeowner Theodore Turcott told police an unfamiliar gray 1993 Toyota Camry pulled into his driveway Thursday morning, according to a affidavit filed Friday at the Palmer courthouse. Turcott told police he’d been burglarized twice recently: Someone stole $2,200 on March 26, leaving $400 behind, and after another apparent break-in Tuesday, all but $9 was gone.
So, Turcott told police, when he didn’t recognize the woman getting out of the Camry, he grabbed a gun and hid in the bathroom to see what would happen, said Wasilla police Deputy Chief Greg Wood.
Palin made straight for the bedroom cabinet where Turcott kept his cash, Wood said.
Turcott confronted her, detaining her until police arrived, he said.
But before officers got there, Palin’s 4-year-old daughter came into the house, the prosecutor handling the case said during a Palmer District Court hearing Friday.
“There was a significant safety issue regarding this 4-year-old child,” prosecutor Mike Walsh told Judge John Wolfe.
The girl told police she’d been to the house a couple of days earlier, the affidavit stated. Palin, however, said she had never been there before, and mistakenly thought it was a friend’s house.
Police arrested Palin on felony burglary charges stemming from the break-ins Thursday and Tuesday, as well as misdemeanor theft and criminal trespass charges. Her tire tracks and footprints appeared to match those in photographs taken earlier by Turcott, police said.
She remained jailed at Mat-Su Pretrial Facility in lieu of $10,000 bail Friday afternoon.
The Palmer District Attorney’s office is deciding whether to also pursue child endangerment charges, Wood said. He said other charges could also be filed stemming from the first break-in at Turcott’s when the case goes to a Palmer grand jury next week.
At Friday’s hearing, Palin appeared shaken but polite, answering, “Yes, please,” when Wolfe asked if she wanted a court-appointed, state-funded public defender, a request the judge granted.
How Turcott’s house was chosen remains unclear. Palin and her husband, Scott McLean, live in a completely different neighborhood on the other side of Wasilla.
McLean was not at the Friday hearing. Earlier in the day, he said he had learned of his wife’s arrest when police called him Thursday morning to come pick up their daughter. He’d assumed Palin had been arrested for driving on a suspended license due to a series of traffic offenses including speeding and expired registration.
He said he didn’t recognize Turcott’s address, and said he had no idea why his wife would be at a house so far from her own — the sports complex is on the west side of Wasilla, while the Palin home is halfway to Palmer, near Mat-Su Regional Medical Center.
McLean said he was still in shock. His wife, a stay-at-home mom, took good care of their 4- and 6-year-old children, he said.
“Everything seemed normal,” he said.
Anchorage Daily News