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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Spokane County Sheriff's Office

Wanted man flips plain-clothes cop the bird

A wanted man was jailed earlier this month after he swore at and gave the finger to a plain-clothes sheriff's detective, then struck the detective and ran, according to court documents.

David E. Lee, 22, is in custody at the Geiger Corrections Facility. He faces charges of assaulting a police officer, obstruction and resisting arrest after a series of events around 8 p.m. on July 9 near Mount Spokane High School.

Lee was a passenger in a Chevy sedan that came upon two trucks, one pulled off to the side of North Lowe Road so the driver could take a photo of the sunset, she told investigators. The driver of the sedan sped past the two trucks, at which time Lee yelled profanity and “flipping the finger,” witnesses said. The driver of the second truck, Spokane County Sheriff's detective Shannon McCrillis, pulled the sedan over for a traffic stop.

A woman inside the car told police Lee asked whether McCrillis was a “real cop” because he had warrants out for his arrest. McCrillis said Lee was not compliant with his commands to keep his hands where he could see them during the stop, and when he tried to take Lee into custody on his warrants, the 22-year-old struck the detective with his elbow and ran to the woods nearby.

Police dog Laslo was eventually called in to take Lee into custody. Drug paraphernalia was found in a bag belonging to Lee inside the car, according to police reports.

Suspected robber uses spoils to spoil mother

A 24-year-old man used a credit card he swiped from a Spokane Valley shopper in a strong-arm April robbery to buy a Mother's Day present online, according to investigators.

Spokane Valley authorities searched several residences last week looking for Damian Plumley and evidence of the April 24 incident. A woman said she was walking from her car following a shopping trip when a man matching Plumley's description bumped her from behind, knocking her to the ground. The man took her purse, which contained several credit cards.

Detectives learned those credit cards were used to buy items at a local convenience store and at several department stores' websites. While searching Plumley's residence in the 11000 block of East Fourth Avenue, police found an electric tea kettle they confirmed was bought using the robbery victim's credit card.

Plumley's mother told police her son had bought it for her as a Mother's Day gift.

Plumley is in custody of the Spokane County Jail facing charges of robbery, identity theft, leaving the scene of an injury accident and possession of stolen property.

Spokane Valley adds more cops

At a time when many cities are still scrambling to find ways to add police or fill positions left vacant to help balance budgets, Spokane Valley has green-lighted a plan that puts more deputies on the streets when they're needed most.

City Council members agreed last night to add two additional deputies as part of a reorganization of the patrol division that includes creation of a fifth platoon to augment day and night shift staffing. The goal is to have more patrol deputies on the street when demand for police services tends to be highest.

The city pays the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office about $17 million a year to provide law enforcement coverage under a contract that dedicates about 100 deputies to Spokane Valley, with nearly half of them assigned to patrol duties. The others include administrators, supervisors, detectives and school resource officers. The city also provides a police station, equipment and vehicles.

Cost of the plan is about $423,000, which includes equipment upgrades, though city officials believe it could be less because it will take some time before the sheriff’s office is able to get the additional deputies on board. Recurring annual costs to the city of the two additional deputies is about $350,000, which includes benefits and the city’s share of the county’s costs for employee administrative services.

Under the proposed reorganization, the rank of corporal would be eliminated and the positions redistributed. Three would be upgraded to sergeants, two would be turned into detectives and one position converted to patrol deputy in the new platoon.

The two new deputies plus one deputy from each of the existing four platoons would be transferred to the new “power shift” platoon. The deputies would augment staffing by working from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., which overlaps the day and night shifts and is when Spokane Valley sees its greatest demand for police services.

Suspected drunken driver crashes near off-duty deputy’s home

A man suspected of drunken driving had his keys confiscated by an off-duty Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy who witnessed the man trying to drive over some boulders near Liberty Park, according to court documents.

Wayne Pederson crashed his Toyota pickup near a trailhead at the park just south of Interstate 90 in Central Spokane earlier this week. A sheriff's deputy who was home at the time of the crash left his home to find Pederson trying to drive over a boulder that was blocking the trail, he told investigating officers.

Pederson then fell out of his truck, according to court documents. The deputy took Pederson's keys and called law enforcement, who arrived and conducted a sobriety test. The investigating officer listed Pederson's level of impairment as “obvious.”

Pederson refused a breathalyzer and blood draw at the scene, according to court documents.

Where Spokane’s officer-involved homicides occurred in 2013

Five men died after confrontations with Spokane law enforcement in 2013, according to Spokesman-Review records. Investigations into the shooting by a multiagency task force ended in no recommendations for charges against any of the law officers. The five fatal shootings is up from one reported fatality during incidences with local law enforcement in 2012, according to Spokesman-Review reports.


Blue icon: Spokane Police Department was the responding agency.
Green icon: Spokane County Sheriff's Office was the responding agency.

Public safety reporters Kip Hill, Kaitlin Gillespie and others contributed to the creation of this map. Click on a map icon for more information on a specific event, and visit the Google spreadsheet it's based upon to change views of the information to your preferences. As a companion to this database, the Spokesman-Review is also publishing a list of all homicides we covered beginning Jan. 1, 2013.

Where Spokane’s homicides occurred in 2013

According to Spokesman-Review reporting, local law enforcement investigated 23 deaths as homicides in and near Spokane County in 2013. Public safety reporters Kip Hill, Kaitlin Gillespie and others kept track of each of the cases, and we're making our records available to you below.


Blue icon: Case has been resolved, either through legal procedures or the death of a suspect.
Yellow icon: A suspect (or suspect) is (are) in custody, and the case is moving through the legal process.
Red icon: No suspects have been apprehended to date.

Click on the icon to learn more about the case, and visit the Google spreadsheet for specific case details and customize the map to your preferences. As a companion to this piece, the Spokesman-Review is also publishing a list and map of the homicides involving law enforcement officers in 2013.

Sheriff’s Office looking for Walmart flashlight thief

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office is hoping the public can shed some light on a man they say stole a flashlight from a Spokane Valley Walmart over the weekend.

The man was captured on surveillance video entering the store at 5025 E. Sprague Ave. around 4 p.m. Sunday. He is a white male, wearing jeans, a grey collarless shirt and a dark zip-up sweatshirt with a light beard and short cropped hair.

According to an undercover officer in the store, the man left the location without paying for a flashlight he was carrying. When confronted in the parking lot, the man brandished a knife and fled to a nearby vehicle.

Police ran the vehicle's plates, which were written down by the store officer. The car was reported stolen. It has been recovered by authorities, but police have no leads on a suspect.

If you have information about the incident, the Sheriff's Office is asking that you contact Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS or online at crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org. A cash reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in this case.

Sheriff’s Office hosts Citizens Academy

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office is hosting an eight-week citizen's academy designed to provide an overview of what law enforcement officers do and some of  the issues they face.

The program is scheduled to begin Oct. 7 with sessions each Monday from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and sheriff's organizers are actively trying to get the word out.

Those interested in attending should contact Deputy Travis Pendell at (509) 477-6044 or by email at TPendell@spokanesheriff.org.

Scammers promise a clear criminal record

A recent string of scam calls promises Spokane County residents that a clean criminal record is just a phone call away.

Over the past several months, citizens have received calls from scammers claiming to be from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office saying there’s a warrant out for their arrest and that whoever they’re living with may be charged for harboring a wanted person, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release. The caller says that if they pay a fee their record will be cleared.

When the scammers call, caller identification will display the sheriff’s office administration number. The Federal Communications Commission has released a guide to this scam method, known as “spoofing.”

The Sheriff’s Office never tells people they can pay their way out of a warrant, Deputy Craig Chamberlin said.

“We either go find them, or when we contact them and find out they have (a warrant),” Chamberlin said, “that’s when we take them to jail.”

Victims or anyone with information about the scam are asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Spokane County crime analyst upset by implications of doctoring numbers

Leslie Brockman, a crime analyst with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office, says she and her coworkers have been pulled into a political spat by members of a political action committee critical of Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Knezovich appeared on several area television newscasts blasting as politically motivated efforts of Integrity First, a group made up of former sheriff's department employees, to obtain public records related to residential burglaries occurring in rural Spokane County during the first half of 2012.

Brockman said Thursday the requests imply that crime analysts somehow cooked the books, a charge she called “insulting.”

“They're insulting the whole department,” Brockman said.

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Sheriff’s deputy honored for airborne service

A Spokane County Deputy was honored nationally for helping safely guide deputies on two high speed chases last year.

Tactical Flight Officer Jeff Thurman was named the Tactical Flight Officer of the Year award at the last week’s Airborne Law Enforcement Association conference in Orlando, according to a news release.

Shooter exercise at Valley Mall Saturday

Don't panic if you see a lot of flashing lights at Spokane Valley Mall late Saturday and early Sunday — multiple law enforcement and fire agencies are staging an “active shooter exercise” there.

Spokane County Sheriffs, Spokane Police, Spokane Valley Police, Spokane Valley Fire, local hospitals, the local ambulance service provider, the FBI and the Washington State Patrol all will be involved, the sheriff's office said in a news release.

The full-scale exercise will help those agencies evaluate their response plans. Staging will begin at 11 p.m.; the exercise will begin at 2 a.m.

It's not open for public viewing, the sheriff's office notes.

Bird’s eye view of missing man formation

Air One, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office helicopter unit, shot this video Saturday of biplanes flying in the missing man formation as they passed over the Torchlight parade in downtown Spokane in honor of the three Fairchild airmen killed in Kyrgyzstan earlier this month. Here's the video:

Paintball gun triggers nine Spokane Valley school lock downs

Spokane County Sheriff’s Office deputies believe a man working on his paintball gun triggered lock downs at nine Spokane Valley schools Thursday morning.

A woman told deputies she saw a man carrying a gun and shooting it into the ground near 28th Avenue and Blake Street around 10:45 a.m., according to a Sheriff’s Office news release, but authorties could not locate a suspect.

Several Central Valley School District schools were briefly locked down during the extensive search, the release said.

Later that day, a man called deputies to say he was in the area taking a CO2 cartridge off his paintball gun – an action that creates a loud popping noise. He realized the woman likely heard this sound.

No shots were fired, deputies determined.

Crimestopper reward offered for head shop thief

Spokane County Sheriff's Office shared surveillance stills of a man suspected of robbing a Spokane Valley head shop. | Photo: Spokane County Sheriff's Office

Spokane County Sheriff's Office needs help identifiying a man suspected of stealing a pack of Captain Kratom Thai powder from a Spokane Valley Puffin Glass store on April 11, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.

The suspect asked to see the product, described as an organic pain reliever by an Puffin Glass employee, but he ran out of the store with the tablets around 7:15 p.m. and didn't pay for them, an employee told authorities.

The employee chased the suspect out of the 12023 E. Sprague store, but the suspect pulled out a knife and threatened him. 

Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect. To report a tip, call 1 (800) 222-TIPS or go online to www.crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org.

Several firearms found inside foreclosed home

Spokane County Sheriff’s Office detectives found several firearms inside a South Hill home where a man shot and killed himself Sunday.

Detectives seized five assault rifles and four hand guns from the 4500 block of East Sumac Drive where 62-year-old Warren C. Schrempp, Jr. was growing marijuana at a foreclosed home, according to recently filed court documents.

Detectives cataloged three of the weapons as loaded including an AK-47-style rifle, a Glock and Makarov pistol. They also found four adult marijuana plants and 10 starter plants. Schrempp had authorization to grow medical marijuana, court documents show.

Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office called Schrempp’s death a suicide. A real estate agent called police after a locksmith smelled marijuana at the property and saw a car in the garage, they told authorities.

Sheriff’s detectives found a sliding door open and announced their presence, but they heard a muffled gunshot and called a SWAT team, previous reports said.

Informant led Spokane detectives to suspected drug dealers

A confidential informant led Spokane County Sheriff’s Office detectives to a married couple dealing meth out of a Spokane apartment, according to criminal complaint filed in United States District Court Tuesday.

Spokane County Sheriff’s detectives arrested Mark W. Bush (pictured left) and Crystal K. Peterson on the morning of April 4 after serving a search warrant to their apartment at 1717 E. Mallon Avenue.

Court documents describe the informant as a felon with several convictions including theft, burglary, and lying to authorities. The informant was compensated financially for the information leading to the arrest of Bush and Peterson, documents show.

The informant bought meth from Bush three times during the investigation, they told detectives, but Peterson was only present during a deal on one occasion.

Investigators seized 11 ounces of meth from the home during the search including four small bags inside a box of Nilla Wafers. Additional bags of meth were found in the bedroom in a black bag, a dresser drawer and in the kitchen freezer.

Investigators also found a purse under a mattress in the master bedroom with a cell phone and a spiral notebook with a variety of names and phone numbers.

Although the Drug Enforcement Administration was not present at the time of the search warrant last week, a special agent is filing the complaint against Bush and Peterson after Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich pushed for federal charges to give him a longer prison sentence if convicted.

Knezovich compared Bush’s criminal record to convict Eddie Ray Hall who was sentenced to a 16 years in a federal prison last year. Bush is in custody at Spokane County Jail for his 39th arrest in Washington state.

Pursuing federal charges against a repeat offender is a common tactic, Knezovich said, because it can give them a longer prison sentence and keep them off the streets.

Knezovich described this drug ring as localized and the meth was most likely not produced in Spokane.

Related content: Sheriff exasperated with repeat offender

Wanted felon arrested at South Hill apartment complex

A man wanted by authorities was discovered hiding out at a South Hill apartment complex on Monday night.

Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies were looking for Raymond S. Wheatley, 44, a felony warrant for violating his court order, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release. A deputy learned he was hiding at 2800 E. 27th Avenue and filed an arrest warrant to get him, the news release said.

Authorities also called in the SWAT Team to help serve the arrest warrant around 10 p.m. because of Wheatley’s 22 years of violent history against law enforcement. Deputies arrested Wheatley in 2007 after he grabbed a Spokane Valley police officer’s Taser and tried to use it against him, prior reports said.

The SWAT Team made their presence known and Wheatley reportedly came out on his own. Deputies took him into custody without incident, the release added.

Wheatley was booked into Spokane County Jail for his felony charges of violating a court order.

Young couple arrested for Spokane Valley burglaries

A Spokane Valley young couple with a license to wed are instead in Spokane County Jail on charges of residential burglary and trafficking of stolen property.

Vyacheslav Znovets, 21, and his girlfriend Marina Florianovich, 25, were arrested by Spokane Valley detectives after they allegedly sold a stolen wedding ring to a north Spokane jewelry store, according to court documents.

The couple has been responsible for several burglaries, detectives said, and they typically use Florianovich’s black BMW to travel during the day and steal jewelry from Spokane Valley homes. They knock to see if anyone is home and then break in through the rear window or door, documents said.

They were named in a series of Spokane Valley burglaries last year, reports said. 

Detectives believe the wedding ring was stolen from a home in the 4100 block of south Terra Verde Drive on the 26th. The homeowner left for the afternoon and returned to find his front door kicked in.

Earlier that day two witnesses said they saw a man acting suspiciously near a BMW with the same license plate as Florianovich’s near 21st Avenue and Timberlane Street. A home was burglarized along the 2100 block of S. Timberlane was also targeted, detectives believed.

When Znovets was arrested he showed detectives which homes he broke into and showed them the house along Terra Verde Drive and along Timberlane. Another home was also pointed out in the same neighborhood by Znovets, detectives said.

The couple was booked into Spokane County Jail on Wednesday and appeared in Spokane County Superior Court on Thursday.

Despite the suspect’s relationship, Judge James Triplet ordered they have no contact with each other.

Florianovich’s charge was reduced to trafficking because court documents do not show probable cause of her being at the scene of the burglaries, Triplet said.

Znovets continues to have the residential burglary charge.

A marriage license with Spokane County only lasts for 63 days and they have about two weeks remaining on their license, according to court records.

Facebook: Spokane Valley Police detectives have posted pictures of recovered jewelry from the couple. If something is yours, go claim it. 

Felon threatens deputy during ride to jail

A felon arrested on outstanding warrants threatened a Spokane County Sheriff’s deputy during his ride to jail and told him “the knife’s coming out” next time, according to court documents.

Deputy Nathan Bohanek found William L. Moore loading items onto a trailer behind a business after a caller told 911 they saw suspicious activity near the 1500 block of South Pines Road.

The caller said they saw sparks and hear grinding noises and thought someone was stealing something, documents said.

Bohanek arrested him for two outstanding misdemeanor warrants for third-degree driving with a suspended license and second-degree criminal trespassing.

Moore began screaming at Bohanek and calling him names during the drive to Spokane County Jail, documents said.

He told Bohanek, “You want to ruin my life? You’re going to have to kill me next time,” documents said.

Moore also said, “Next time we meet, mother f-, the knife’s coming out!”

The deputy interpreted Moore’s words to be a threat against his safety, documents said.

Moore was booked into Spokane County jail and appeared in Spokane County Superior Court Tuesday afternoon. Judge James Triplet placed a $10,000 bond on his charges of intimidating a public servant.

Moore was described by investigators as “confrontational” after he was arrested by deputies in 2010 during a traffic stop after they found more than 70 feet of aluminum and copper wire in his car, reports said. They also found gloves, flashlights, saws and tools in his vehicle.

He told police to “shoot him”, according to 2010 search warrant on his car.

Deputies arrested him during another incident in 2001, reports said, after he hid his alleged meth stash in a gas station bathroom.

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