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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: felons

Crime Stoppers identifies ten new fugitives

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Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest are looking for ten fugitives, three of whom are active, repeat offenders.

Repeat offender suspects are those criminals considered by law enforcement to be the most active offenders in the community, according to Crime Stoppers. There is a double reward for repeat offenders.

Crime Stoppers fugitives are wanted criminal suspects avoiding police capture. Do not approach them. They should only be contacted by law enforcement.

Anyone with information about these fugitive's whereabouts is asked to call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-800-222-TIPS. Tipsters don't have to give their name to collect the fugitive reward.

Felon flees argument, K-9 dog finds him hiding under snow

A man tried to hide from police after an argument with possible gunfire erupted at a north Spokane County home Tuesday afternoon, but a Spokane County Sheriff’s K-9 dog found him hiding in a hole under a tree.

Anthony Young, 38, had four active felony warrants out of Stevens County, according to a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office news release, and reportedly ran into the woods before deputies could arrive to the home at the 37000 block of North Newport Highway, a woman told police.

Jet, the K-9 dog, followed tracks in the snow for one mile from the property and found Young hiding, the news release said. Jet could smell him through a pile of snow, sticks and pine needles Young used to hide himself with.

The other parties of the argument had left the property as well. Deputies saw them driving away earlier and stopped the car with two men inside.

Deputies were advised that the passengers were involved with the argument and they checked the vehicle and found a .22 caliber revolver with the serial number ground off inside a backpack.

The driver, identified as William Talbert, 24, told deputies the gun belonged to someone else and he was arrested for felony firearm possession, altering the serial number and driving with a revoked license.

Young was arrested for the felony warrants which included burglary, taking a motor vehicle without permission, theft and possession of stolen property.

Deputies were unable to confirm if a shooting took place.

Man brought gun to fistfight, police say

A Spokane man was arrested this weekend for allegedly bringing a gun to a fistfight outside a bar in the West Garland District.

Kellen P. Ward, 30, is accused of pointing a semi-automatic pistol at a group in the parking lot of the Revolver North bar, 633 W. Garland Ave., on Saturday about 2 a.m.

A witness told Spokane police that his friend, Neno Testa, fought with several people from the bar into the roadway, where several people were knocked to ground. A white Lincoln Town Car arrived and a man weighing about 225 pounds and wearing glasses exited and brandished the gun. Witnesses said he told the group “you…think you’re bad? I'll kill you,” according to court documents. The car fled westbound on Garland.

Police stopped it at North Jefferson Street and West Garland Avenue and arrested Ward, who they say was driving. He matched the description of the gunman, and police found a handgun in the car.

Ward, a convicted felon, was booked into jail for unlawful possession of a firearm.

Records show Ward pleaded guilty in 2006 to attempting to elude a police vehicle and conspiracy to possess a controlled substance.

Jury indicts Tasered fugitive for gun

A grand jury has indicted a mail thief who shot a round from a fire arm after being shocked with a stun gun by U.S. Marshals last month.

Tony L. Gust, 33, faces up to 10 years in federal prison if convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

He was arrested July 20 after federal agents found him at his home in the 22000 block of West Jacobs Road, northwest of Airway Heights, and watched as he ran into his trailer and “armed himself with a firearm,” according to a news release.

He was struck with a taser, and “subsequently a round was fired from the weapon Gust was holding,” the news release said. Gust was arrested without further incident.

Gust was arrested in January 2011 after a postal inspector recognized him from surveillance video that showed him breaking into post office boxes at the Opportunity post office, 11712 E. Sprague Ave.

He was sentenced in June to three years of probation, but that was revoked in October and he was sent to jail for six months. He left in April and was to participate in a treatment program.

Authorities noted his “troubling history of violence and offenses involving firearms,” in court documents filed in May 2011, which his lawyer attributed to Gust's “physical, mental and dependency problems” and said treatment would serve well.

He remains in custody at the Spokane County Jail after pleading not guilty to the charge on Tuesday. A probation violation hearing is scheduled for Aug. 21.

Prints, Facebook aid in shooting probe

A Montana man charged in connection with a February shooting outside a Spokane Valley tavern thanks in part to evidence on Facebook is back in Spokane. 

Jarrod E. Veilleux, 29, is accused of shooting a man in the stomach as he smoked in an outside area on the east end of the Oasis Tavern, 14913 E. Trent Ave., about 9 p.m. Feb. 24. 

The victim told police he'd been beaten up at the same bar two years ago but had no idea if it was related, according to court documents. He said he was going through a contentious divorce but he had no idea why anyone would want to shoot him.

Detectives identified fingerprints on a pint glass and on a glass whiskey tumbler as belonging to Veilleux and Terrance D. Riley, 33.

The men were on probation in Montana and prohibited from leaving the state. They were jailed in Montana.

Veilleux appeared in Spokane County Superior Court today on charges of first-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault. Riley is charged with first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

Veilleux has the word 'Pile' tattooed across the knuckles of one his hands, which matches witness descriptions of the shooter. A sheriff's detective also reviewed the men's Facebook profiles and noted Veilleux with a blue Ford Explorer that matched the vehicle described as fleeing the shooting scene.

The multiple-time felon was convicted of burglary and theft charges in Gallatin County, Mont., in 2003 and sentenced to 20 years in prison with 12 years suspended.

Riley remains in prison in Deer Lodge, Mont.

Girlfriend of alleged serial burglar jailed

The girlfriend of a suspected serial burglar was arrested today for her alleged role in the spree.

Tawnya Ann Werre, 43, joins her boyfriend, Dean Michael Blackford, in the Spokane County Jail, where Blackford (pictured) has been since his arrest April 24.

Investigators believe Werre is involved in an April 4 burglary at a home in Valleyford in which three young girls hid in a bedroom as a man broke in the front door and ransacked the home. Police believe that man was Blackford.

The case prompted Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, flanked by victim homeowner and mother Melissa Bambock, to announce a new initiative with prosecutors and Spokane police to try to combat property crime, despite dwindling resources.

Blackford, 50, told detectives he burglarized at least 20 homes to fund his methamphetamine addiction.

Detectives believe Werre sold stolen goods at pawn shops. They also believe she helped Blackford burglarize at least some of the homes.

Werre has 10 felony convictions including forgery, theft and drug charges. She was booked into jail today on charges eight counts of residential burglary, five counts of first-degree theft, three counts of second-degree theft, and single counts of second-degree burglary, theft of a firearm, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, first-degree trafficking in stolen property and possession of methamphetamine.

Blackford has pleaded not guilty to his charges and remains in jail awaiting trial.

Investigators arrested seven others while searching three locations connected to Blackford just after his arrest. Read more here.

Man nets 2nd police chase in 3 weeks

A Spokane man arrested at gunpoint after a police chase three weeks ago was picked up again Tuesday morning after another chase with law enforcement.

 A profusely sweaty Michael S. Wheeler, 38, was taken to a hospital after he told a sheriff's deputy he had eaten an unknown amount of cocaine when he was arrested near Argonne and Bruce roads, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Ryan Truman tried to stop Wheeler after spotting he and his passenger “frantically” moving and reaching under the front seats when he approached their parked Jeep Cherokee just north of Hastings Road about 4:30 a.m.

Truman noted a damaged steering column and a punched ignition with a screwdriver sitting on the vehicle's center console. Dispatch reported the car was stolen, and Truman ordered an already “very agitated” Wheeler and passenger Jamie Burdeau, 22, out of the vehicle, the sheriff's office said.

Wheeler instead put the Jeep in reverse and struck a shed, fence and a “junk car” as he fled, officials say. Truman and other deputies found the Jeep abandoned in the area of 3rd Avenue and Railroad Street in Mead. Burdeau was spotted walking near the vehicle and told deputies Wheeler had run east. She later said she and Wheeler had been waiting for a meth dealer when Truman approached them, the sheriff's office said.

A Spokane police K-9 found Wheeler's gray hooded sweatshirt near the Jeep.  Patrol officers found Wheeler at Argonne and Bruce roads, where he was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle and felony eluding. Burdeau was arrested on a charge of possession of a stolen vehicle.

Wheeler also faces a third-degree assault charge for allegedly striking a security guard at Holy Family Hospital while running from sheriff's deputies. Deputies said Wheeler ran from them after saying “Have you ever been to jail? It sucks,” according to court records. Wheeler was shocked with a Taser as he struggled to get away from the deputies.

Wheeler was arrested May 3 after a high-speed chase with a state wildlife officer in a stolen car while high on methamphetamine, according to court documents. He was released from jail when prosecutors didn't file charges within three days.

Wheeler also was wanted by Crime Stoppers when he rammed a sheriff’s patrol car in December 2010 while successfully eluding a deputy. Read more here.

Chronic eluder arrested for eluding police

A Spokane man with a history of fleeing police led a state wildlife officer on a chase in a stolen car while high on methamphetamine recently.

Michael S. Wheeler, 38, remains jailed on stolen car and eluding police chases after he was arrested at gunpoint Thursday after a high-speed chase that began in the area of 36900 Valley Road.

Fish and Wildlife Sgt. Daniel Rahn was in the area when he noticed a 1986 Doge pickup parked in his neighbor's driveway.

Rahn didn't recognize the truck and watched as the driver approached a parked trailer. The driver told Rahn he was looking for copper wire when stopped, but he soon sped way and a chase ensued.

Rahn ended the chase because of public safety concerns, but a sheriff's deputy was able to stop Wheeler at gunpoint on Deer Creek Road near Elk-Chattaroy after Wheeler lost control of the truck while trying to avoid a spike strip.

Wheeler told police he had taken methamphetamine earlier that day, according to court documents. He said he didn't know the truck was stolen. Police say the truck was stolen that day from a home on Sherman Road in Deer Park.

Wheeler had a Department of Corrections warrant for escape. He has several felony convictions that prohibit from possessing weapons, so he could face another felony charge for a rifle found in the truck.

Wheeler was wanted by Crime Stoppers when he rammed a sheriff’s patrol car in December 2010 while successfully eluding a deputy. Read more here.

Serial burglar leads to 7 more arrests

Investigators arrested seven people while searching three locations last week connected to suspected serial burglar Dean M. Blackford.

The properties at 1928 W. Glass Ave., 12607 N. Freya, and 7722 N. Altamontwere identified after detectives talked to Blackford about his burglary ring.

Large amounts of stolen property, from motorcycles to guns to Oxy-Acetylene tanks were located. Detectives seized more than 3 1/2 ounces of meth and some marijuana.

The investigation is ongoing and more charges are expected.

Arrested at the locations for meth possession were Steven R. Vandinter, 41; Lindsey M. Pearson, 22; Kevin M. Heaton, 35; Randy E. Hewson, 25; and Danica M. Wood, 27.

Michael Thorne, 36, was arrested on six felony warrants.

Jesse T.J. Gust, 26, was arrested on a warrant for arson. Gust was identified as a suspect in the arson fire of a truck that was part of a love triangle involving meth addicts.

A man first identified as suspect, Jesse J. Icard, was cleared of wrongdoing and his charges have been dismissed. Witnesses appear to have mistaken Icard for Gust, according to new court documents.

Uncle in kidnapping jailed on high bond

A longtime Spokane felon accused of kidnapping his 14-year-old niece will remain jailed on $350,000 bond, a judge ruled Friday.

 Steven Norton Tofte, 53, told police he was trying to keep the girl from her abusive family members, but police continue to investigate the circumstances of her disappearance.

“I just wanted to make sure she was safe,” Tofte said, according to court documents. “I always told her that if she was ever going to runaway to call me.”

The girl, who had been missing since Friday, told a friend she was running away with her uncle to Blanchard, Idaho, police say.

Investigators found Tofte and the girl in the Colville National Forest near Cusick Thursday. Tofte was armed with a shotgun but was arrested without incident.

Tofte was arrested on a charge of second-degree kidnapping, residential burglary and felon in possession of a firearm. He has at least 15 felony convictions dating back to 1980, including two for robbing a porn store and a gas station.

Tofte also faces an additional $30,000 bond for an unrelated identity theft case. Even if he posts $380,000 bond, he won't be able to leave prison. Federal authorities have placed a hold on him. Details were not immediately available Friday, but he was arrested on federal land so he'll probably face federal charges.

Felon leads police to guns, stolen car

Deputies in Spokane Valley found two suspected stolen firearms Tuesday while contacting a woman who was driving with a suspended license, officials said today.

Jill A. Benton, 27, told deputies she placed a backpack in the bed of a truck next to her vehicle in the area of 400 North University Road and that there were two guns inside, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Benton allowed deputies to search the backpack, and they recovered a KSI Pomona 9mm handgun and a 16-gauge Westpoint shotgun.

Benton allowed deputies to search her storage unit in Spokane Valley, “where there were several items that she said were more than likely stolen,” according to a news release.

Benton also told deputies she'd picked up a “felon” associate who had been driving a Honda, the sheriff's office said. She took deputies to the Honda, which was listed as stolen. Benton was booked into jail on two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Police are asking property crime victims to review photos of the seized property from this case and from other investigations on the Sheriff's Office Facebook page.

“Citizens are required to call Crime Check with their original theft report number and must show proof of ownership for the items they recognize,” according to a news release.

Benton is prohibited from possessing firearms because of felony convictions, which include riot, conspiracy to possess a controlled substance and conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance related to a medical marijuana robbery in January 2011.

Wigged felon with gun, drugs charged

A fugitive felon arrested in Spokane with drugs and a gun while wearing a wig and sunglasses has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

James Anthony Stinson, 41, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Stinson was arrested Jan. 16 after a Spokane police officer spotted him driving a blue Ford Explorer while wearing the disguise, according to court documents.

Stinson had an escape warrant from the Washington Department of Corrections. Police arrested him in a motel parking lot at 4301 W. Sunset Blvd., and found methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin in a black case.

Stinson also had a black and silver Taurus 9 mm semi-automatic handgun in the car, police say. He's prohibited from possessing guns because of six felony convictions, all drug related.

Stinson was charged in Spokane County Superior Court with three counts of possession of a controlled substance. He's out of jail on $10,000 bond with trial scheduled for June.

The federal gun charge in U.S. District Court was filed Tuesday. He has not yet been arrested in that case.

Felon ineligible for Kootenai Co. sheriff

A candidate for Kootenai County sheriff who shot a man in downtown Coeur d'Alene in 2009 and later pleaded guilty to a felony heroin charge is not eligible for the position, officials say.

 Adam Mathis Johnson, 27, cannot hold office because he's on probation for two years after pleading guilty to a felony controlled substance charge, Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said Thursday.

Johnson will get his rights restored once he completed a two-year probation term. Until then, he's also restricted from carrying firearms.

Johnson was arrested on drug charges in Post Falls in April.  He was arrested on an attempted murder charge in December 2009 after  a shooting in downtown Coeur d’Alene that a grand jury ruled was self defense. Johnson's victim is suing his own civil lawyer for malpractice.

Johnson was featured in The Spokesman-Review a weekend before the shooting in a story about the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.. He was also featured in 2007 in a story about his business, Convertec.

Citizen stops cop’s suspected assailant

A citizen helped a Spokane police officer in a struggle with a wanted felon outside a grocery store recently.

Retiree Dennis Greer will be nominated for a chief's citizen award for helping Officer Nick Geren apprehend Timothy Alan Williams, 46, outside Fred Meyer at Freya Avenue and Thor Street last month, police said today. 

Williams (pictured left) pleaded not guilty to a second-degree assault charge today in Spokane County Superior Court for the fight, which left Geren with a dislocated thumb (pictured right). Geren is not working patrol but helped the Patrol Anti-Crime Team identify a suspect in the South Hill burglaries through burglary report analysis and other desk work, said Officer Jennifer DeRuwe, spokeswoman for the Spokane Police Department. 

Geren was in the area of 5th Avenue and Thor Nov. 20 about 9 p.m. when he recognized a car driven by Williams, whom he knew was wanted on felony warrants.

Geren tried to arrest Williams after he pulled into a parking spot at the store, but Williams struggled, according to court documents.

Greer said today that he had pulled into the lot with his wife when he saw the fight. He realized Geren (pictured left) was a police officer and got out to help, despite his wife's pleas to stay back. 

“I finally broke away from my wife and I went up and got on top of the guy and basically took his arm and brought it up a ways,” Greer said. “I was trying to figure out how to open (the handcuffs) up when the rest of the police got there and they took over.

“I was afraid that the guy was going to get away if I didn't intervene,” Greer continued.

Williams is a convicted felon who also faces a new felony charge of attempt to elude police for an alleged chase with a sheriff's deputy on Sept. 23.

He was wanted for violating his probation through the Department of Corrections for a second-degree robbery conviction.

No jail furlough for new Hells Angel dad

A federal judge today refused to allow Hells Angels sergeant-at-arms Ricky W. Jenks out of jail so he can help with his girlfriend’s pregnancy.

U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush ripped Jenks during the hearing, saying Jenks hadn’t “earned” much consideration from him.

“His record is not one that generates a great deal of sympathy,” Quackenbush said of Jenks. “But here he is escaping another major, major multiyear sentence.”

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

Aug. 3: Judge skeptical of Hells Angels plea deal

March 7: Jenks' arrest pleases '01 victim's mother

March 31: Grand jury indicts Hells Angels leader

Felon indicted in stolen firearms probe

A Spokane man arrested in an undercover police probe into illegal firearm sales has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Jeffery S. Finney, 31, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of unlawful possession and sale of a stolen firearm, unlawful possession and disposition of a stolen firearm and felon in possession of firearm and ammunition.

Finney was arrested in March after selling two guns to a confidential informant who was working with the Spokane Police Department's drug unit. Police followed Finney and the informant to a location in north Spokane County, where Finney picked up three other firearms for sale.

Police executed a search warrant at Finney's apartment, 13110 N. Addison St., and seized methamphetamine, scales and packaging materials, according to an affidavit.

Finney is a convicted felon, which prohibits him from possessing weapons. His felony convictions include delivery of methamphetamine, third-degree assault and second-degree burglary.

In 2001, he fled the Public Safety Building just as a judge was to sentence him to jail for domestic violence. He was caught hiding behind a garbage bin behind Russell Van Camp's now-former law office west of the courthouse on West Broadway Avenue, according to news archives.

Finney is to be arraigned on the federal charges Friday and remains in the Spokane County Jail.

Guns seized in Valley SWAT team raid

A theft investigation led to a SWAT team raid at a Spokane Valley home Wednesday, where detectives seized several suspected stolen firearms.

Donald Jay Patterson, Jr., 42, was arrested as a search warrant was executed at a home in the 3300 block of East 35th Avenue, where police found five guns believed to have been stolen from a home in the 2800 block of North University Road. 

Patterson was stopped in a white Ford Mustang as he drove away from the home after being notified of the search warrant, according to court documents.

Police believe Kevin Robert Boler, 43, brought the stolen guns to the home. He was arrested in the 12000 block of East Valleyway Avenue.

The case began as a burglary, vehicle prowling and identity theft investigation. Police obtained surveillance footage showing suspects t later identified as Jermaine J. “Solo” Hockaday, 31, Justin E. Mueller, 30, and Marcella R. Walther, 34.

Mueller and Walther told police last week that they were “tired of their life style” and said they were angry at a man named Kevin “who kept a hold over them with an ever rising drug debt they owed him,” according to court documents.

Mueller is in jail on theft and vehicle prowling charges. Hockaday is in Geiger Corrections Center on identity theft and stolen property charges. Walther was released after no charges were filed.

Patterson is in jail on charges of possession of a stolen firearm and felon in possession of a firearm. Boler is jailed on five counts of possession of a stolen firearm.

Middle-finger salute leads to gunfire

A father and son were arrested Wednesday after a neighborhood dispute that began with a middle finger led to a pistol being fired into the ground.

Stephan R. Day, 53 is accused of firing the pistol while his son, Stephan D. Day, 18, is accused of trying to hide his father's guns before police arrived. Police say the incident began about 9:15 p.m. when the elder Day “extended his middle finger” at a neighbor and his friends, according to a news release by Spokane Valley police Sgt. Dave Reagan.

The neighbor said Day has a history of harassment. He and his friends were leaving when Day again flipped them off, so they “decided to return and respond in kind,” Reagan said. Day retrieved a .44-caliber pistol from his home and fired it into the ground at the men's feet, who retreated and called 911. No one was injured.

Police arrived to find the victims hiding behind a car and saw a man later identified as Day, Jr., drop a gun over the fence at the home. Police ordered him to drop the weapon and located three rifles on the ground, as well as two guns along the fence line. Day, Jr., was arrested for possession of a pistol by a minor and evidence tampering.

His father, who has felony convictions that prohibit him from possessing firearms, was arrested for five counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and single counts of harassment – threats to kill and reckless endangerment.

Police seized the pistol as well as a .330-magnum rifle, a 7mm rifle, a .45-caliber muzzle-loader rifle and a final rifle of unknown caliber. The Days are due in Superior Court today.

Judge skeptical of Hells Angel plea deal

Hells Angels sergeant-at-arms Ricky W. Jenks pleaded guilty in federal court in Spokane today to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, but the judge handling the case said he wants more time before accepting the plea.

U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush questioned why federal prosecutors accepted the plea agreement calling for only two years in prison when Jenks faced twice that prison time had the case proceeded to trial.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

March 7: Jenks' arrest pleases '01 victim's mother

March 31: Grand jury indicts Hells Angels leader

Man jailed after odd encounter with infant

A man prohibited from possessing firearms was arrested with a gun in a Spokane cemetery last weekend after confessing his love to a baby and asking if he could be her “Uncle Bob,” police say.

The child's mother was at the Fairmount Cemetery, 5200 W. Wellesley Ave., with her infant daughter and a friend when a man with two dogs approached, rubbed her shoulder and picked up the baby from her stroller without permission, according to court documents.

The suspect, later identified as Robert F. Asterino, Jr., 46, held the child for several minutes before becoming distracted by a couple approaching with their own dogs, according to police. When he bent over to place the baby back in her stroller, the woman observed the handle of a handgun in his waistband. He also had a beer bottle in his front pocket, she told police.

The woman's friend said she was frightened “and did not feel she could tell him to put the baby down due to his large size, his strange demeanor and the fact that he had been drinking,” according to court documents.

Spokane police used a search warrant to recover from Asterino's 1968 Chevy pickup a 9mm glock with 16 rounds in the magazine, as well as an extra bullet. He was jailed on a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm, which was later dismissed. 

This story has been updated from its published version. A reference to an earlier felony conviction in New Mexico was deleted after Asterino provided evidence that the charge had been reduced to a petty misdemeanor. Also, information of the dismissal of the firearm charge was added. 

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