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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Avista Utilities

Wire theft knocks out power; tips sought

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information that led to the arrest of those responsible for a wire theft at an Avista substation that left thousands without power.

The thief or thieves cut cooper ground wires and stole portions, resulting in about $10,000 in damage.

The theft occurred about 2 a.m. Jan. 9 at the substation at 7182 N. Huetter Road. A ground wire burnt through because of short circuiting, which crews said likely scared the thief or thieves away.

The culprits “could easily have been electrocuted,” Avista crews told sheriff's deputies, according to a report.
Metal thefts cost local businesses thousands of dollars and are common because drug addicts can sell the stolen material for considerable amounts of money.

A band of alleged thieves in Spokane County even obtained legal business licenses to aid in their criminal enterprise. Read more here.

Anyone with information on the wire theft in Kootenai County is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Thieves target Avista power lines

Here's a news release from Sgt. Dave Reagan:

Overhead lines that return unused power to Avista have been targeted by metal thieves since late August, a company employee reported Monday.

Since Aug. 22, a suspect has stolen more than one and a half miles of #6 copper for a loss exceeding $18,000.  The company has been replacing the stolen copper lines with aluminum wire which is less expensive.

The employee said the return cable is the lower of the two lines on the power poles and that the suspect pulls the line down and then cuts it closest to the pole.   

The thefts are risky business. Although the line is usually not powered, it can be at any time and the thief would have no way of knowing if it is charged or not.

The most recent theft occurred Monday in the 20600 block of North Hazard Road.  Crews had just replaced the line at midnight and it was discovered missing again at 6 a.m.

Anyone with information regarding these thefts is encouraged to call Crime Check at 456-2233.
  

Reward offered for tips on Avista theft

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that solve a burglary in which two Spokane-area companies lost more than $5000 in copper wire and power tools.

The crime is believed to have occurred between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Wednesday at an Avista Utilities storage site at 2400 N. Dollar Road in Spokane Valley.

Employees believe the thief or thieves cut a padlock from a gate and backed a vehicle into the lot, then removed more than $3,000 in items from five Avista work trucks using a wheelbarrow.

Bouten Construction, which also stored items at the site, lost several power tools valued at about $2,000, including two Skil circular saws, two roto hammers and two cordless battery charges.

Anyone with information on is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

$5k in tools, copper wire stolen at Avista

Someone stole more than $5,000 worth of tools and copper wire from an Avista Utilities storage site in Spokane Valley early Wednesday.

Employees at 2400 N. Dollar Road believe the thief or thieves cut a padlock from a gate and backed a vehicle into the lot, then removed more than $3,000 in items from five Avista work trucks using a wheelbarrow.

Bouten Construction, which also stored items at the site, lost several power tools valued at about $2,000, including two Skil circular saws,  two roto hammers and two cordless battery charges.

Based on the amount of snow accumulated in footprints, police believe the break-in likely occurred sometime between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Spokane Valley Police Department.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Tips sought on Avista copper caper

Thieves stole more than $1,000 worth of copper cable from an Avista substation in north Spokane this week.

Police are looking for tips on whoever cut the padlock at 8307 N. Regal and stole the coils of copper, which were discovered missing about 6:30 .am. Wednesday.

A copper ground cable embedded in the ground had been pulled out and stolen as well, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

“Three different types of Shawflex-brand cable were stolen: a 12-conductor #9 gauge, a seven-conductor #9 gauge and a four-conductor #9 gauge,” according to a news release. “In all, about 25 30-feet-long lengths of cable were stolen.”

Thieves often steal copper to sell to recycling firms.

Anyone with information on the burglary is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Pot suspect with ailing brother granted bond

A Canadian truck driver arrested with 300 pounds of marijuana bound for an Avista plant in Kettle Falls will be allowed to leave jail before trial, a U.S. magistrate ruled Friday. 

Matthew G. Tutt, 31, has an older brother who has been diagnosed with cancer and given 18 months to live, said his public defender, Amy Rubin.

Tutt’s mother and father traveled to Spokane from Vancouver Island, B.C, from the hearing, which U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno said weighed heavily on her decision to release hm from custody.

Tutt was driving a load of wood chips for Middleton Trucking in Maple Ridge, B.C., when border agents found marijuana in five wooden crates hidden inside the load at the Kettle Falls plant.

He pleaded not guilty Friday to a grand jury indictment charging him with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and importation of marijuana. Both charges carry five to 40 years in prison.

An assistant U.S Attorney requested bond be set to equal the value of the fine B.C marijuana Tutt is alleged to have imported into the country - she estimated $400,000 - but Imbrogno granted a bond of $50,000 - $25,000 cash and $25,000 through a U.S. bond company.

Tutt’s parents will be required to pay a $100,000 appearance bond if he doesn’t show up for court.

Tutt will live in North Vancouver and report monthly to a federal office in Blaine, Wash. He’s allowed only to Blaine and to Alberta to visit his ailing brother.

Avista dispute leads to police response

A Coeur d’Alene man who owns a historic bed and breakfast was taken into custody by police Wednesday after threatening Avista Corp. employees over the phone when a serviceman delivered a power shut-off notice.

It’s an extreme example, but by no means unique, an Avista spokesman said: So many similar incidents have occurred in the past month that the Spokane utility is considering additional security measures for its service people in the field.

Read the rest of Alison Boggs’ story here.

Door-to-door sales prompt police reports

Door-to-door sales representatives from an Idaho company are prompting a flurry of calls to Crime Check from concerned Spokane Valley residents.

Salesmen with Rocky Mountain Insulation in Pocatello are selling insulation they say “may” qualify homeowners for an Avista Utilities or federal tax rebate, according to the Spokane Valley Police Department.

The men ask homeowners if they can come inside to check the home’s insulation and sometimes imply they are with Avista, police said. Avista officials say the men are not associated with the company.

A phone number listed for Rocky Mountain Insulation has been disconnected. Police urge residents to use caution when dealing with strangers at the door.

“Asking for company identification is a good start,” Sgt. Dave Reagan said in a news release. “Prior to allowing any sales person inside your home, conceal purses, wallets, checkbooks and other easy-to-steal items of value. Escort the person through your home and watch for suspicious activity.”

Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of a crime is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

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