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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: carjackings

2 charged in attempted carjacking

Two suspected car thieves tried to steal a vehicle from a stranger outside a north Spokane restaurant, police say.

 Bennie Lee Carson, 31, and Charles A. Nickens, 27, followed the man north on North Division Street and confronted him when he pulled into the McDonald's parking lot at Division and East Heroy Avenue about 7:15 a.m. on June 27, according to police.

The victim said one of the men reached into his waistband as he approached and made it appear as though he had a firearm. The other man told the victim “he liked his rims and wanted his keys so he could drive his car.”

Wright refused and “aggressively walked past” the men and into McDonald's, where he called police. A friend who was to meet the victim at the McDonald's that morning witnessed the incident an through the men were perhaps confronting him over a driving dispute.

The victim's friend is an Avista meter reader who said he considered using his “dog stick” meter reader to stop an assault should it occur, according to court documents.

Police found the car in the Shadle Park Wal-Mart later that day. One of the occupants said she got the car from a man named Bennie, “a car thief who steals and traffics in stolen vehicles,” police wrote.

Carson and Nickens were charged last week with second-degree robbery and possession of a stolen motor vehicle - police say they car they followed the victim in was stolen.

Carson also faces possession of stolen motor vehicle charges for cars found at his home at 2415 E. 1st Ave., where police believes he strips stolen vehicles, in June when police responded to a report that he was assaulting his girlfriend. The home also was the target of a SWAT team heroin bust in March.

Carson was arrested on car theft charges July 1. Nickens also was arrested last month and has been in jail since. Prosecutors filed charges for the attempted robbery on Aug. 2.

Car stolen at knifepoint during cleaning

A woman was carjacked as she vacuumed her Chevy Camaro at a car wash near Browne's Addition Saturday night, Spokane police say.

Larry D. Vermillion, 43, is accused of stealing the woman's car at knifepoint from the Brown Bear car wash, 1821 W. Sunset Ave., about 8 p.m., then drunkenly driving through downtown Spokane before colliding with a taxi cab.

Phyla J. Beell flagged down police and said the man told her “Steve” sent him before he threatened her with the knife, according to court documents. Beell told police she climbed out the driver's window of her 1993 Camaro because the driver's door doesn't open.

Beell contacted a friend inside the Sunset Junction, and the two chased the stolen Camaro down West Third Avenue before losing site of it on South Howard Street.

Police say the Camaro crossed lanes, went the wrong way and slowed down to about 5 mph to drive through a parking lot before running a red light at Third and South Browne Street and being struck by the taxi.

Vermillion was booked into jail on charges of first-degree robbery, second-degree assault and attempting to elude police.

$40k bond for shotgun carjack suspect

An 18-year-old man accused of carjacking a woman who was with her infant remains jailed on $40,000 bond.

Dustin M. Lange is accused of pointing a shotgun at Rachelle Bergman and “racking it” as she was trying to load her newborn baby into her 1998 Ford Escort about 8:40 p.m. Friday in the employee parking lot at Northern Lights Brewery, 1003 E. Trent Ave., police say.

Bergman told police Lange said he would “blast her” if the keys were not in the car, according to court documents prepared by police. Lange also pointed the gun at Bergman's friend Hannah Fretheim, police say. Bergman said she was able to get her 10-day-old son out of the car before Lange stole it.

Police found the Escort in the parking lot of a FedEx warehouse, 4220 E. Broadway Ave., where they say Lange ran through the building still staffed by employees and hid in a trailer at a loading dock.

Fretheim and Bergman identified Lange as the gunman, and police booked him into jail. Officers say they found seven small bags of marijuana and one larger bag, as well as a scale, with Lange after his arrest. They found the shotgun in the wheel well of a truck trailer.

Lange appeared before Superior Court Judge Annette Plese Tuesday on charges of theft of a motor vehicle, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, theft of a motor vehicle, first-degree assault, first-degree robbery and second-degree burglary (for the FedEx entry.)

Lange was convicted as a juvenile of taking a motor vehicle without permission on Nov. 10 - a day before his 18th birthday, police say.

Pizza delivery driver robbed, carjacked

A pizza delivery driver was robbed and carjacked Friday in Grant County after being lured with a fake order placed through an iPhone application, officials say.

Deputies responded to the robbery in the 1200 block of Pershing Road, north of Moses Lake about 9 p.m., where a 22-year-old Pizza Hut driver said he'd been attacked at knife point by three men.

One man told him he was being robbed and demanded his money and cell phone before fleeing in his car with two others. The car was abandoned a few blocks away minutes later, according to the Grant County Sheriff's Office.

The victim was not injured but was too frightened to provide a description of the robbers other than that they were Hispanic and about 5-foot-10, the Sheriff's Office said. One wore a dark stocking cap and another man may have had a bandanna covering part of his face.

Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at (509) 754-2011, ext. 468, or e-mail

Spokane K-9 nabs carjacking suspect

A carjacking suspect led police on a chase early Sunday morning, but his attempt to escape on foot was foiled by a Spokane Police Department search dog.

A man reported that he was parked outside the Holiday Gas Station at 9620 N. Division Street just before 3:30 a.m. while a friend was inside. He was approached by someone who pulled a gun on him and told him to get out of his silver Toyota Camry, according to a Police Department press release. Police responded and spotted the car 25 minutes later driving north on Division past the same gas station where the car was stolen.

There was a short chase until the man  jumped from the still moving car and ran, the press release said. Police officers, assisted by the Washington State Patrol, searched the area and found a handgun holster in an apartment complex courtyard just east of Ritter's Nursery.

The dog, Leo, and his handler, Officer Craig Hamilton, found the suspect inside the fenced nursery. Justin S. Brown, 29, was booked into jail on charges of first-degree robbery, second-degree burglary and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

The gun believed to be used in the carjacking was later recovered in the same area the holster was found.

Fugitive’s police chase is 2nd this year

Spokane County sheriff's deputies arrest Kevin L. Hodgson after a freeway chase Wednesday. (SRPhoto/Colin Mulvany)

A man who already served jail time this year for eluding police was arrested at gunpoint Thursday following a high-speed freeway chase.

Kevin Lyle Hodgson, 38, fled police at the Hico at East Sprague Avenue and North Mullan Road before ditching his car and running across Interstate 90 into Spalding Auto Parts, where police and a K-9 tracked him down.

“The defendant did not make much of a statement except to note that he had been stupid,” deputies wrote in an affidavit.

Hodgson's ex-girlfriend called police to report he'd been harassing her, she said he was about ready to stop for gas at the Hico, had a handgun and would potentially ram any police vehicles that tried to stop him, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. Hodgson ran from deputies at Hico and jumped into a Honda Civic at a nearby car wash as the owner was vacuuming it. The Civic was found crashed at 11021 E. Augusta.

Hodgson has warrants in District and Municipal courts and was sentenced in March to 43 days in jail for a police chase in February.

In that case, Hodgson fled police during a traffic stop in north Spokane and was shocked with a Taser.

Hodgson returned to jail Thursday on charges of theft of a motor vehicle, second-degree robbery, second-degree assault, attempting to elude police, obstructing a public officer and second-degree driving with a suspended license. He's due in Superior Court this afternoon.

Tire iron assault, car theft leads to arrest

A Spokane man is accused of beating another man in the head with a tire iron and stealing his car.

Grant T. McAdams, 24, asked Emad Mohammed Salih for a ride outside the 7-Eleven at West Indiana Avenue and North Washington Street May 9, then told him to pull over at North Standard Street and East Ermina Avenue and get out of the vehicle, according to a probable cause affidavit.

McAdams allegedly struck Salih with a tire iron several times, then chased him down the side walk and continued to hit him in the head before he collapsed about a half block from his 1997 Chrysler and McAdams hit him about a dozen more times with the tire iron, police said.

McAdams then ran back to the Chrysler and drove away, allegedly. Spokane police recovered the stolen vehicle the next day at 3000 N. Mayfair St.

Salih was treated for a severe concussion and is being treated at St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute in the severe head trauma unit, according to the affidavit.

Salih identified McAdams from a photo lineup, and he was arrested at 717 E. Rich Ave. on May 20.

McAdams appeared in Spokane County Superior Court Monday on charges of first-degree assault and first-degree robbery.

McAdams, a 2010 Crime Stoppers graduate, has previous felony convictions, including second-degree burglary and residential burglary.

Carjacking suspects tracked by ‘copter

Two men suspected of carjacking a 2001 Volkswagen Bug were arrested late Saturday after being pursued by a sheriff's helicopter.

Less than 24 hours after helping nab a suspect in a police chase, Air-1 helped arrest Joseph Andrew Johnson, 20, and Lee Jackson Crider, 30, Saturday night on accusations they'd stolen a car in the 9310 block of East 1st Ave. on April 28.
Later, a man told police he confronted three men who were driving a Bug on April 29 and that all men had a “tweaker” look to them, court documents say.
One man man pointed a gun at him and tried to steal his car, but the man escaped to a gas station and called 911. Police responded to a report of a robbery late Saturday near 1st and Willow, then to a smilar report later in the area of Cataldo Avenue  and Bowman Road.  Police contacted Johnson, who said he'd paid $100 for the car but admitted to being involved in a fight at 2st and Willow. 
Johnson said a gun was involved but said he didn't carry it. Johnson was arrested on suspicion of robbery and possession of a stolen motor vehicle, as well as a bag of meth found in  the battery compartment of Johnson's cell phone, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Witnesses identified Johnson and Crider as walking away from the Bog. The sheriff's helicopter spotted them in a grassy area near Park on the south side of Interstate 90.  
Inside the Bug, police found a machete, which one victim said was used to threaten him.

Boyfriend in fatal crash gets 15 years

A Spokane man involved in a carjacking that led to a fiery crash that killed his girlfriend has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Michael L. Olson, 32, pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery and two counts of tampering with a witness and was sentenced recently to 180 months in prison by Spokane County Superior Court Judge Greg Sypolt. 

Olson was arrested in June 2009 after Marjorie A. “Amy” Harrigan, 24, died when she was thrown from a carjacked 2002 Acura RSX during a police chase on Indiana Avenue just east of Ruby Street.

The Acura struck a tree and ripped in two (pictured above); authorities said Harrigan, who was driving, was killed instantly.

Police say the couple stole the car after meeting its owner, Christopher T. Fuller, at Ace's Casino and asking him for a ride to retrieve a borrowed pickup.

The two assaulted Fuller and forced him out of the vehicle near Perry and Cataldo streets. Police spotted the Acura and the truck driving on Nettleton Street near Euclid Avenue, and both took off at high speeds.

Harrigan crashed and died; Olson escaped in the truck but was arrested later that night.

A few months later, police seized letters from his mother's home that were written by Olson and apparently discussed plans to kill Fuller. Detectives said they learned from Olson’s cellmate that Olson wanted him to kill Fuller, which led to the witness tampering convictions.

Olson had previous felony convictions for drugs and theft. He was sentenced Dec. 17.

Gunman in botched carjacking sentenced

Unable to complete sentences between tears, 56-year-old Donald Young explained how being shot in a botched carjacking last year “messed up” his life.

The man responsible, Joseph P. Ellery, 31, (pictured) pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree assault in exchange for prosecutors dropping other charges, including first-degree robbery and drive-by shooting during the bloody carjacking that occurred Dec. 18. He was sentenced to almost 13 years in prison.

“I get shot from some drug-induced … Why me? He screwed up my life,” Young told Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen. “I wanted to see what the guy looked like. I’ve never seen him before in my life.”

Read the rest of Tom Clouse’s story here.

Dec. 21: Man in carjack shooting said victim owed money

Carjacking, robbery gets man 15 years

A Spokane man who used a gun in a carjacking and bank robbery after escaping from a work release center in May has been sentenced to nearly 15 years in prison.

Brian E. Gorder, 32, was ordered to spend 171 months in prison after pleading guilty Tuesday to three counts of first-degree robbery and one count of escape before Judge Maryann Moreno.

Federal agents and a police dog arrested him a day after he robbed Washington Trust Bank, 3810 N. Maple, at gunpoint and escaped in a Buick Lucerene he’d carjacked from a woman in the K-Mart parking lot on North Division Street.

Gorder was serving time for a police chase shown on “Cops” when he left the Brownstone Work Release Center and went on the crime spree.

In 2004, Gorder told the newspaper he needed help overcoming his addiction to methamphetamine.

“I’m not a bad person,” he said at the time. “The issue is I have a drug problem. Once I get going on this stuff, I do things I normally wouldn’t do.”

He’s now in jail awaiting transport to prison.

Man in rejected sentencing deal jailed, again

A Spokane man who returned to jail just weeks after promising to make better decisions earlier this year is again back behind bars.

 Michael R. “Mikey Mike” Gardner’s arrest on robbery and drunken driving charges came about about six weeks after he served a sentence imposed by Judge Kathleen O’Connor, who had rejected a proposal to give the 24-year-old credit for time served in April.

O’Connor instead had sentenced Gardner to six months. He served about four months and was released June 4.

Now Gardner is to be arraigned today on charges related to a July 24 arres after a man said Gardner assaulted him and stole his black Honda Civic.

The alleged victim said he was leaving Matthew’s Bar and Grill on North Pines Road when Gardner, who was sitting outside on a curb, asked him for a ride him. Gardner said he lived “just down the road” but couldn’t give directions, so the victim drove to his apartment complex at 2718 N. Bowdish.

Gardner fought with the victim it the parking lot, then stole his car, which was recovered in the 2800 block of North Cherry.

Police believe Gardner asked for a ride home as a rouse to steal the car. He’s charged with first-degree robbery, drunken driving and driving with a suspended license.

His arrest was the one-year anniversary of a shooting melee that led to a third-degree assault conviction against Gardner. He received credit for time served in January, then was arrested in a stabbing case two weeks later.

Past coverage: April 15: Man gets 6 months after judge rejects deal 

Hunt still on for alleged bank robber’s driver

A bank robbery suspect who used a carjacked vehicle as his transportation was arraigned on two felonies Tuesday as police continue to search for his getaway driver.

Police still haven’t determined who was driving the stolen Buick Lucerene when Gorder got into the car as a passenger after allegedly robbing Washington Trust Bank, 3810 N. Maple, on May 28.

Gorder was arrested the next day, but he refused to talk to detectives and police didn’t recover the Buick for several days.

Now they’re searching Gorder’s cell phone records for clues about how might have driven him from the bank robbery. If you have any information, all Crime Check at 456-2233.

Gorder pleaded not guilty today to charges of first-degree escape and first-degree burglary connected to an alleged crime spree that began when he escaped from a work release center May 25.

He’s already pleaded not guilty to robbery and attempted kidnapping charges. Prosecutors will be seeking an exceptionally long sentence.

Past coverage:

June 1: Carjacking suspect has history with ‘Cops’

Police still looking for carjacked Buick

Police still are looking for car stolen at gunpoint in north Spokane May 27.

Brian E. Gorder, 32, is accused of carjacking the 2008 Buick Lucerene in the K-Mart parking lot, 6606 N. Division, then using it in a robbery at Washington Trust Bank, 3810 N. Maple.

U.S marshals found Gorder in a tree May 28, but the Lucerene hasn’t been found. Its owner told police she and a friend were in the parking lot when a man later identified as Gorder ordered her to move to the passenger’s seat.

When she said she couldn’t because of the car’s center console, he ordered her out of the car and drove off after grabbing her purse, police said. Gorder is charged with two counts of robbery and one count of attempted first-degree kidnapping.

Gorder had recently escaped from a work release center after leaving prison.

Anyone with information on the Lucerene, Washington license plate 330YNF, is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Past coverage:

June 1: Carjacking suspect has history with ‘Cops’

Pics show vehicle in McDonald’s carjacking

Police today released surveillance photos of a car believed to belong to two men who stole a car at gunpoint in a fast food drive-through early Monday.

The photos show a white, four-door sedan at McDonald’s, 909 W. Indiana Ave., about 3 a.m., just before two men carjacked a Mitsubishi Lancer in a dispute over loud music.

The men were in the white car when the Lancer pulled up and a confrontation ensued over the Lancer’s stereo volume.

Police found the Lancer - sans the stereo - about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday n a vacant lot in the area of 1800 West Boone.

Anyone with information on the white call or the men, described as white, bald and large, should call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Carjacking suspect has history with ‘Cops’

A felon who escaped from a work release center is accused of a gunpoint carjacking and armed bank robbery Friday in Spokane. 

Brian E. Gorder, 32, already is well known to police. In 2007, he led officers and a “Cops” camera crew on a high-speed chase that saw a police cruiser catch fire.

Now Gorder is due in Superior Court today on charges related to an alleged crime spree that ended with his arrest by U.S. marshals on Saturday. Gorder is believed to have stolen a 2008 Buick Lucerene at gunpoint Thursday in the K-Mart parking lot on North Division, then robbed a bank and shoplifted from several stores.

U.S marshals arrested his girlfriend, Meagen P. Meyers, 29, that day after she escaped from the Eleanor Chase House on April 29, then learned on Friday Gorder was allegedly responsible for the carjacking.

Gorder also was identified as a suspect in an armed robbery Friday at Washington Trust Bank, 3810 N. Maple, in which the stolen Lucerene was used as the getaway vehicle.

Federal agents spotted Gorder driving southbound on Division near the Northtown Mall at 12:45 a.m., but Gorder fled a traffic stop.

A Spokane police K-9, Duke, found him hiding in a maple tree. Gorder’s past convictions include theft of a motor vehicle, attempting to elude, residential burglary, obstructing police and possession of a controlled substance.

He was sentenced to 37 months in prison for charges related to the September 2007 “Cops” chase and was at the Brownstone Work Release Center when he allegedly absconded on Tuesday.

In 2004, Gorder was involved in a chase that included an officer firing rounds at his vehicle’s tires. He told the newspaper he needed help overcoming his addiction to methamphetamine.

“I’m not a bad person,” he said at the time. “The issue is I have a drug problem. Once I get going on this stuff, I do things I normally wouldn’t do.”

Read the story from January 2004 here.

Search continues for McDonald’s carjackers

Spokane police still are looking for two men who carjacked a Mitsubishi Lancer at gunpoint during a fight over loud music in a McDonald’s drive-through early Monday.

The men, described as large, white and bald, were waiting at the McDonald’s at 909 W. Indiana Ave. in a white, four-door sedan at 2:58 a.m. when the Mitsubishi occupied by two other men pulled in behind playing loud music, police said.

When one of the men yelled to turn the music down, the men in the Mitsubishi got out of the car and confronted them but retreated when one displayed a handgun, according to police.

The men ordered the victims out of the car before driving off – one in the car they arrived in and one in the victim’s vehicle.

The stolen car, which is a gray 2002, four-door sedan, has a Washington license plate number 318TDF. Anyone who sees the Lancer is asked to call 911.

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