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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: stolen vehicles

Car in road reveals stolen truck, warrants

A police corporal located a vehicle stolen from Lincoln County early today in Spokane Valley.

Cpl. Dave Ellis arrested four people on warrants with the help of sheriff's deputies after he contacting a man and woman triyng to move an Olds Cutlass from he middle of Valleyway Road near University Road about 2:18 a.m., according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

A man standing next to a truck in the driveway of a home believed to be connected to the Cutlass walked into the backyard, and deputies determined the truck was stolen. They contacted the home and found four people with warrants.

Arrested were David B. Buswell, 31, on a misdemeanor warrant for third-degree malicious mischief; Amanda M. Powers, 28; for felony escape from community custody; John P. Oak, 44, for misdemeanor failure to transfer title and Ronald E. Martell, 50, for a warrant for third-degree driving while license suspended.

Oak also was arrested in January for allegedly forging a $15 Spokane County Jail check for more than 200 times the amount.

2 arrested after chase w/ stolen truck

A sheriff deputy's attempted traffic stop led to a chase with a stolen truck Sunday night.

The driver and his passenger fled the truck near Haven Street after city police officers disabled its front and rear passenger tires at the intersection of North Market Street and East Euclid Avenue.

Suspect Gary A. Patterson, Jr., 34, was arrested near the truck and admitted he was a passenger, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's K-9 Brax found the suspected driver Kyle A. Costello, 26, hiding on top of a six-foot tall roof.

Deputy Shawn Audie had been pursuing the truck since trying to pull it over for a defective taillight near East Francis Avenue and Market about 10:15 p.m. Dispatchers told him the truck had been stolen in Spokane earlier that day.

Audie terminated the pursuit when the truck continued to travel recklessly with sparks flying from the front and rare passenger tire rims. He thought he saw a crash on Haven Street but arrived to see Patterson and Costello running from the stolen truck. There was no crash.

The men were booked into jail for possession of a stolen vehicle. Costello also faces a felony eluding charge.

Patterson was arrested about a month ago on suspicion of burglary after he requested - and was given - a bottle of wine when he unlawfully entered a home at at 828 E. Joseph Ave., allegedly.

Spokane police bust suspect chop shop

A stolen Honda Civic located outside a north Spokane garage Tuesday led police to raid a suspected chop shop and arrest two men. 

Dennis A. Martynenko, 23, and Brandon C. Hill, 18, were booked into jail on two counts of possession of a stolen motor vehicle after Spokane police Cpl. Shane Oien spotted the stolen Civic parked outside a detached garage near 4000 N. Pittsburg St.

Martyenko and Hill were removing wheels, tires and other parts from the Civic and putting them another car, police say.

Officers with the Spokane police Patrol Anti-Crime Team saw two other Hondas inside the garage that were stripped down and had parts swapped out .

Officers also observed other cars parts such as seats, hoods, fenders, bumpers and molding throughout the garage, as well as a stolen Honda scooter. Police contacted the owners of the white Honda and the scooter, who “gratefully responded to identify and take possession of their stolen property,” police said today.

The Spokane police Targeted Crimes Unit served a search warrant at the garage and recovered the stolen vehicles, as well as stolen tools. They say the garage appears to be used as a chop shop where stolen cars are disassembled and their parts redistributed.

Police say Martyenko is a repeat offender with seven felony conviction for property crimes. Hill also has a criminal history, police said.

“This arrest is part of the Spokane Police Department’s effort to identify and apprehend repeat offenders in order to minimize theft and property crimes within the City of Spokane,” according to a news release.

Police offered the following tips to protect yourself from theft: Watch for individuals who are out of place in your neighborhood. Don’t leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked. Always park in high-traffic, well-lighted areas when possible. Invest in the purchase of anti-theft security devices. If your vehicle is stolen, report it to the police immediately.

Hondas are the most stolen car in Washington state.

K-9, ‘copter catch car theft suspect

A sheriff's dog tracked a car theft suspect who fled a crash in Spokane Valley early today.

The K-9, Brax, located Justin C. Luce, 32, hiding near a tree about two blocks from the crash near 600 N. Walnut Road, which occurred after Luce fled a traffic stop near Walnut and Broadway Avenue about 3 a.m., according to the Spokane Valley Police Department.

Officer Juan Rodriguez located the crashed car unoccupied with a shaved key inside the ignition. A sheriff's helicopter and Brax tracked Luce to the tree.

Police found a backpack in the stolen vehicle that contained marijuana. Officers say it and several burglary tools found in the car belonged to Luce.

Luce is to be sentenced March 26 for a burglary in Kootenai County that's connected to the theft of a high-end triathlon bicycle recovered by Coeur d'Alene police just in time for Ironman.

Luce also has a conviction in Spokane County for car theft that stemmed from a similar police chase in the Valley last April.

Chase in stolen rental car leads to arrest

Spokane police arrested the fleeing driver of a stolen rental car after a using their patrol car to stop the vehicle late Tuesday.

  Christopher B. Gooch, 35, told police his cousin told him the car was stolen when police pulled up next to them, and “I wasn't just going to pull over and go to jail for a stolen car,” according to court documents.

Gooch had fled police in a 2011 Toyota Corolla while southbound on North Market Street near East Wellesley Avenue. He sped through red lights before Officer Sean Wheeler nudged the back of the Corolla with his patrol car, which forced it into a spin that brought it to a stop

. Gooch ran from the car but was arrested in a backyard near Buckeye and Atlantic. Wheeler noted in court documents that he advised Gooch that “he was a terrible driver.”

Police say Gooch had suspected stolen checks on him when he was booked into jail. He remains jailed in this case and another attempting to elude police case and a felony drug case from last year.

Gooch's cousin, Justin C. Taylor, 27, who police suspect stole the car, is jailed on drug and car theft charges.

Stolen car yields ‘plethora’ of lifted goods

A Spokane police officer investigating a stolen vehicle early Sunday found what he called a “plethora” of property believed to have been stolen in burglaries and car prowlings.

Officer Sean Wheeler located the stolen Kia Rio at 118 E. Sanson about 1:45 a.m. and arrested suspect Amariah J. Carter, 22, for car theft.

Wheeler and backup officers found a checkbook, toolbox and GPS system that had been stolen from a car at 4707 E. Upriver Drive on Friday.

Officers also found sheers and restaurant-style knives that had been stolen from a vehicle on Saturday. They also found an identification card belonging to a residential burglary victim who also is missing $3,000 in silverware, a $2,500 diamond ring and antique China dishes described as “priceless.” Officers recovered only the dishes. The burglary occurred in the 4000 block of East Frederick next door to Carter's home, according to court documents.

Carter told police she was not the only person who had driven the car and declined to comment further, documents say.

Carter was released from jail on her own recognizance Tuesday after appearing before Judge Annette Plese on charges of theft of a motor vehicle, residential burglary, first-degree theft, possession of stolen property, unlawful possession of a payment instrument and two counts of second-degree possession of stolen property.

Police chase w/ stolen car ends in crash

This crash in north Spokane began when a sheriff's deputy tried to pull over the Honda. (KHQ-TV photo)

A man in a stolen car swerved into a police cruiser during a chase in north Spokane this afternoon.

The suspect, Aaron D. Lyons, 33, was arrested after he crashed the 1992 Honda Civic into shrubbery while trying to turn into the Rite Aid parking lot on North Division Street. Deputy Jeff Thurman blocked the Civic with his patrol vehicle and arrested Lyons, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

The chase began about 12:39 p.m. when Thurman tried to stop the Civic in the 8500 block of North Country Homes Road for failing to display license plates.

Before Lyons crashed near Rite Aid, Thurman tried to stop car with a “pursuit intervention technique” that involves nudging the back bumper of a fleeing vehicle, which forces it into a spin and brings it to a stop, but Lyons swerved into Thurman's car to avoid the move, the sheriff's office said.

The Civic was reported stolen on Sunday. Lyons also had a stolen credit card with him, according to the sheriff's office.

Lyons was booked into jail on felony charges of second-degree assault, attempting to elude police, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, second-degree malicious mischief and possession of stolen property, and misdeamenor charges of driving under the influence and driving while license suspended.

Man crashes into police car during chase

A man in a stolen vehicle crashed into a police car during a chase in Spokane Valley earlier today, police said.

 The suspect, Joshua G. Garvin, 27, (pictured) was arrested after the short pursuit in the area of East Sprague Avenue and North Willow Road about 4:30 a.m. Officer Nathan Bohanek tried to stop Garvin after a license plate check on the 1990 Honda Accord he was driving said the car was stolen.

Garvin turned northbound on McDonald from Sprague, then drove westbound on Mission and southound on Argonne at speeds of 50 to 80 mile per hour, according to police.

Police continued the pursuit because vehicle and pedestrian traffic was light. Garvin turned east on Sprague and drove the wrong way on the five-lane road, so officers tried to execute a pursuit intervention technique, but

Garvin swerved to avoid the move and hit the patrol car, “causing damage to both vehicles,” according to a news release.

Garvin was arrested after a short struggle. Police found meth, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, shaved car keys and suspected stolen property.

Garvin was treated for a minor injury and booked into jail for several felonies, including possession of stolen property, attempting to elude law enforcement, and possession of a controlled substance, in addition to the warrants and misdemeanor charges.  More charges could be added if the property found in his possession is determined to be stolen.

Court records show Garvin was arrested in November on charges of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, posession of a controlled substance, residential burglary and posession of marijuana.

A no-bail warrant was issued Dec. 23 for violating the conditions of a felony sentence imposed in 2007.

$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.

Police: Car thief tried to run over officer

A Spokane man tried to run over a police officer before abandoning the car and fighting with a K-9 today, officials say.

Melvin A. Gillespie, 41, who was released from jail earlier this year after pleading guilty to assisting a suicide, is back behind bars on charges of first-degree assault, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and attempting to elude.

Spokane police stopped a stolen 2002 Subaru Impreza at East Rowan Avenue and North Nevada Street and tried to detain the driver and passenger who had exited, but the driver got back in the car and drove in reverse toward a police sergeant, who had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck.

Police located the Subaru, which had been reported stolen Christmas Eve from the Spokane International Airport, in the 500 block of East North Avenue unoccupied. A police dog, Leonidas, found the suspected driver, later identified as Gillespie, hiding in leaves in a backyard in the 500 block of East Everett Avenue.

Police say Gillespie punched Leonidas in the head several times before he was controlled by officers. The dog was not seriously injured.

Gillespie was sentenced in April to six months in jail for helping his friend William Pickard jump to his death from the Sunset bridge above High Bridge Park in June 2010. Pickard’s body was found wrapped with a cord in what police first suspected was a homicide.

After months of investigation, Gillespie admitted to police that he'd helped Pickard kill himself at Pickard’s request.

Stolen car recovered 20 minutes later

Spokane police are reminding motorists not to leave their running cars unattended after a vehicle was stolen this morning.

The victim said the car was left warming up in front of their home in the 1500 block of West Carlisle Avenue when it was stolen about 6:30 a.m.

An officer spotted the vehicle in the Shadle Park Walmart parking lot about 20 minutes later and arrested Dustin Richard Burrows, 31, (pictured) on a charge of possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

Police say it's OK to warm up a vehicle on private property, but running vehicles left unattended on the street can garner a fine of $124. They also are frequently stolen.

“Car thieves are most active in the early mornings, especially when cars are warming up,” according to a news release by Officer Ryan Snider. “Police ask that you sit in the vehicle while it is warming up to prevent it from being stolen.”

Burrows was sentenced in Spokane County Superior Court just three weeks ago to drug treatment for a felony controlled substance charge, according to court records.

2 theft investigations lead to 1 house

A Spokane County man caught with stolen vehicles at his South Hill-area home was visited by police again two days later after detectives heard of a stolen jewelry box matching a box spotted during their first search.

Randall T. Smeltzer, 32, is in jail on possession of a stolen motor vehicle, stolen property and methamphetamine charges.

Detectives recovered a stolen Mazda and a stolen Chevy Trailblazer at his home in the 3600 block of East Thurston on Tuesday, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities say the Mazda had been stolen in Medical Lake; Smeltzer had removed its side windows and installed them in his own Mazda. The Chevy was stolen Monday night from a Liberty Lake home and already had different licenses plates mounted on it. Items belonging to its owner were found in Smeltzer's bedroom.

Investigators reviewing burglary reports the next day noted a report listing a unique jewelry box taken in a burglary on South Fancher Road. They recognized the box as one they'd seen in Smeltzer's room, and Detective Dean Meyer obtained a second search warrant for the home on Thursday.

“The jewelry box was recovered, as was jewelry, checkbooks and identification belonging to other victims,” Sgt. Dave Reagan said in a news release. “Investigators also found evidence linking Smeltzer to two other stolen vehicles.”

Officer avoids head-on crash w/ convict

A convicted car thief took a man living in a Jeep Cherokee for a wild ride late Friday that nearly included a head-on collision with a Spokane police cruiser, officers say. 

Tyray H. Munter, 24, (pictured) who has previously led police on high-speed chases, is accused of stealing a white 1991 Jeep Cherokee that was parked outside the Union Gospel Mission.

The Jeep's owner, Steve Wilkinson, told officers he was sleeping hard after a night of drinking when he awoke to someone driving his car as police sirens blared behind.

Wilkinson said he'd never met the man before and asked him repeatedly to pull over, but the thief refused.

Officer Erin Blessing was en route to a domestic violence call when she saw the Jeep turned the wrong way onto Third Avenue. She tried to stop the vehicle but “it actually sped up even more” and drove directly at her.

Blessing drove up on a curb to avoid a collision. The Jeep was suspected in a rear-end hit-and-run crash at East Ninth Avenue and South Altamont Boulevard minutes earlier.

Blessing pursued the vehicle until it crashed near East Newark Avenue and South Arthur Street. Two pedestrians had to run out of the way to avoid being hit, according to court documents.

Munter remains in jail on $3,500 bond on charges of unlawful imprisonment, attempted second-degree assault, attempting to elude police and second-degree taking a motor vehicle with permission, as well as a no-bail hold from the Washington Department of Corrections.

Munter has a previous conviction for possession of a stolen motor vehicle for a high-speed police chase in a stolen car in September 2010.

Man escapes work release amid probe

A 21-year-old man escaped a work release program recently after police interviewed him about a series of vehicle thefts in North Idaho.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to the arrest of William V. Woods, who left the Brownstone Work Release Program while serving a sentence for third-degree assault, according to a news release.

He faces charges of possession of a stolen motor vehicle and two counts of first-degree possession of stolen property for the theft of two cargo trailers and a truck in North Idaho, in addition to a fresh count of escape from community custody.

Woods, 5-foot-7 and 170 pounds, is a transient with a previous felony conviction for second-degree theft. Anyone with information on his current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Tipsters do not have to give their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

Burning stolen cars spark brush fire

Two stolen cars were set on fire in the Indian Trial area Wednesday night, sparking a small brush fire.

Spokane firefighters responded to reports of flames and explosions from a remote forested hilltop east of Indian Trial Road.

Crews accessed the area through gates and narrow trail and found the car fully engulfed, with flames spreading to less than an acre of land.

The Spokane Fire Department assisted Fire District 9 in controlling the blaze. No injures were reported.

One car, a 2000 VW Passat, was stolen from a home in the 12000 block of North Hemlock Street on Sunday or Monday.

The other, a 2010 Ford Escape, was stolen from the 600 block of East Lakeview Lane on Friday or Saturday.

Both were taken from garages after the owners left the keys inside, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

The burned cars are pictured courtesy KHQ-TV.

Organized crime suspect arrested again

A woman awaiting trial on a charge of leading organized crime was arrested early Sunday after a sheriff's deputy found her inside a stolen car.

 Kristina L. Fricke, 41, of Spokane Valley, told Spokane County sheriff's Deputy Phil Pfeifer about 3:30 a.m. that she'd stopped her white Ford Escort alongside East Upriver Drive at East Fruit Hill Road because the exhaust sounded funny, according to a news release.

But Pfeifer didn't believe the exhaust was the only thing that sounded funny - Fricke claimed to have just purchased the car, but a check of its license plates revealed it had been reported stolen.

Fricke had a bill of sale for the car, but it was missing a date of sale and the name of a purchaser, according to the Sheriff's Office. The key used to start the car was shaved, along with two other keys on the ring. Fricke was arrested and booked into jail for driving with a suspended license, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and three counts of possession of motor vehicle theft tools.

Fricke is scheduled for trial next month on a leading organized crime charge and a slew of identity theft charges for allegedly directing at least seven people to commit identity theft and check fraud in a drug-fueled scheme that victimized dozens of people, according to police.

Fingerprints lead to arrests in May theft

Fingerprints led police to identify two suspects in a May 9 purse snatching in Spokane Valley.

Mickey H. Marquette, alias Santos, 26, was arrested last weekend after being identified through a fingerprint database as matching the prints lifted from a 1991 Honda Accord, which police believe he was driving when Tianna Rose Hurd, 28, leaned out and grabbed a woman's purse in the parking lot at Fred Meyer, 15609 E. Sprague Ave., according to court documents.

Marquette accelerated, and the victim was dragged for 15 to 20 feet before she was able to free herself from the purse’s shoulder strap, detectives say.

Police found the Accord abandoned in the area of North Pines Road and Mirabeau Parkway and recovered fingerprints from the inside rear passenger window that belonged to Marquette.

A forensic specialist also found partial palm prints that matched Hurd's prints, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Hurd, who was arrested on meth charges just 10 days after the incident, has been in jail since June 16 on charges of first-degree robbery, second-degree taking a motor vehicle without permission and second-degree possession of stolen property. Marquette is in jail on the same charges.

Oldtown chop shop has Spokane ties

A suspected chop shop under investigation in Bonner County caught the attention of Spokane County authorities last winter when they heard a car thief used the property to dispose of a vehicle.

Washington State Patrol investigators were helping U.S. Marshals look for a felon at Mr. D's Auto Repair and Salvage Yard on Highway 41 near Oldtown Jan. 5 when they were told that Tracey Oblenness, 45, brought her car to the wrecking yard to have it destroyed because she had switched the car's indication to a stolen car of the same make and model, according to court documents. 

Detectives were told that vehicles were often crushed or burned on the property as a means of disposal.

A resident of the chop shop is identified in a search warrant field in January as Daryl Hollingsworth - a key defense witness in Edgar Steele's murder-for-hire trial . Hollingsworth (left) told investigators he once observed a vehicle being crushed and once saw a nice Acura set on fire.

Wayne Clinton told a Spokane County sheriff's deputy that he towed Oblenness's Acura to the property so it could be destroyed and Oblenness could use its identification for a stolen Acura, according to court documents.

Oblenness has not been charged in relation to a stolen vehicle but pleaded guilty last month to a gross misdemeanor drug charge in Spokane County Superior Court and was given two years probation.

The suspected car theft operation remained in tact until last week, when Bonner County detectives saw a stolen vehicle while looking for fugitives. They executed a search warrant and found several stolen vehicles.

Property owner Dennis Hiebert, 51, was arrested for possession of stolen property. The investigation is ongoing.

Murder suspect confesses to TV news

A suspect in a Tucson, Ariz., homicide being held at the Spokane County Jail has repeatedly confessed to the crime during interviews with TV news reporters.

Jonathan G. Baumbach, 26, told KHQ Tuesday that he met Robert Pardee, 61, through an online dating site after being propositioned with drugs and money. He moved into his home in Tucson in mid-January or mid-February.

Baumbach said he met another Jorge Alberto Osorio, 21, online shortly after who became his fiance and also moved into Pardee's home.

“He was our sugar daddy in a lot of ways,” Baumbach said of Pardee, according to an interview posted online Tuesday afternoon. “…He tortured us mentally…He wouldn't let us work. He wouldn't let us do anything.”

But Pardee jumped into the shower with the man and made unwanted sexual advances, which led to the homicide, Baumbach said.

Baumbach said he was with his father in Kalispell, Mont., but heard about Hoopfest and wanted to check it out.

Baumbach was arrested early Saturday in Liberty Lake with Osorio, whom he told KHQ is his fiance. A school resource officer working patrol with a young explorer noticed a 2004 GMC Sierra 1500 pickup truck parked without a front license plate near Appleway and Spokane Bridge Road and learned it was linked to a homicide in Arizona. The truck belonged to Pardee.

Baumbach said he admitted to killing Pardee during an interview with a Spokane County major crimes detective.

See the full interview with KHQ here.

Officer injured when driver rams car

Drug paraphernalia, stereo equipment and other suspected stolen property was seized after Devin Check's arrest. (Spokane Police Department photo)

A Spokane police officer was taken to a hospital with minor injuries after a driver rammed into his undercover car today.

The officer, whose name has not been released, and another officer were trying to block a stolen pickup driven by Devin M. Check, 21, when the suspect accelerated and struck the police car (pictured)  near North Crestline Street and East Everett Avenue, according to the Spokane Police Department.

Check ran from pickup and was chased by officer through yards and over fences until they caught up with him and took him into custody.

Police found stereo equipment they believe to be stolen, as well as drug paraphernalia.

The incident began about 11:50 a.m. when a patrol sergeant noticed the pickup in an alley and determined it to be stolen. Officers monitored the vehicle until Check climbed through the back window and drove away, according to a news release.

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