Marquette man arrested after fleeing police

A Marquette man has been arrested after fleeing from police and is facing charges of ‘malicious destruction of property’ and ‘resisting and obstructing.’

Marquette Police responded to the 500 block of Hawley Street Monday after a witness reported seeing a man write on a dumpster. Police say the witness observed the subject running from the dumpster before jumping on a bike. The witness told police that the man also stopped and wrote something on a sign and then left the area.

 Alexander John Watanen, 25

Alexander John Watanen

The witness gave a description of the suspect to police and a short time later an officer found a man matching the description riding his bike behind a business on Presque Isle Avenue.

The officer followed the suspect around the business to where he was parked. The officer saw the suspect pulling what looked to be a magic marker out of his pocket.  The suspect fled the scene and was chased for several blocks. Officers were able to apprehend the suspect after he exited a wooded area where he had hidden. Police identified the man as 25-year-old Alexander John Watanen of Marquette.

He was arraigned Tuesday in Marquette County District Court. He is facing one count of police officer assaulting/resisting/obstructing, which is a two-year felony. Watanen also faces two counts of ‘malicious destruction of personal property less than $200’, a misdemeanor with a penalty of 93 days confinement and or a $500 fine. He is also facing one count of ‘malicious destruction of a building less than $200’, which is also a misdemeanor and carries a penalty of 93 days confinement and or a $500 fine.

The investigation found that Watanen had written the word ‘Gerko’ on the dumpster and street sign in the 500 block of Hawley Street. Authorities say that same word has been found in dozens of reports involving vandalism in the city of Marquette and Marquette Township, and can be found in hundreds of locations around the city. Watanen could be facing additional charges. The Marquette County Sheriff’s Office and Northern Michigan University Public Safety assisted in the investigation.