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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: whatever happened to

Fugitives include familar face

It was a story like no other.

A shoplifter struggling with Wal-Mart employees. A confused man interferes, thinking the girl is in trouble.

She gets away; he gets arrested. A month later, the man tracks her down, leading to her arrest.

Scott Hughes still hasn’t been charged in the June 6, 2008, fiasco that basically amounted to a comedy of errors by many. The shoplifter, Michelle L. McGlynn-Bell, pleaded guilty to to a misdemeanor in District Court in April.

Now her boyfriend - or at least her former boyfriend - is wanted by Crime Stoppers on unrelated drug dealing and theft charges.

Andrew J. Greenwood, 22, was charged last December with three counts of delivery of a controlled substance (heroin), then in October with two counts of second-degree theft for allegedly stealing guitars from two stores.

An arrest warrant was issued last month after he missed a court appearance. Greenwood and McGlynn-Bell were together at the time of the Wal-Mart fiasco but may have since broken up.

If you know where Greenwood is, call Crime Stoppers at (509) 327-5111 or (800) 222-TIPS, or submit tips online. Tipsters do not have to give a name but should provide a code name or number.

Read past coverage of the Wal-Mart case here and here.

The ‘big’ in big-time criminal history

A woman with a criminal history so extensive a prosecutor told a judge she has “more experience with misdemeanor citations than all of us combined” is back in jail on a charge she knows well: theft.

Nearly eights years after Lawanda R. Hopkins-Sparks, 57, stole a Red Cross donation jar set up for victims of the 9-11 terrorist attacks, she faces allegations of a low-level jewelry scam at a clothing store.

Hopkins-Sparks appeared in Spokane County Superior Court Wednesday on charges of third-degree theft and first-degree trafficking in stolen property. Crime Stoppers had offered a reward for information leading to her capture two days earlier.

She’s already been convicted of third-degree theft 13 times.

Four of those convictions came in the years between her arrest for stealing a 9-11 donation jar at a Spokane Valley Texaco station in October 2001 and her arrest yesterday for an alleged theft in May at the downtown Nordstrom.

Hopkins has at least 32 criminal convictions dating back to 1981, court documents show. In a Crime Stoppers news release, Sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Reagan called Hopkins-Sparks a fugitive who “puts the ‘big’ in big-time criminal history.” (That also may reference the fact that she’s 6 feet tall and 300 pounds, according to the news release.)

Most of her convictions are for theft and stolen property, including a first-degree theft conviction in 1988 for welfare fraud.

“Most of the gaps in her criminal history are due to her being incarcerated,” said Deputy Prosecutor David Stevens, adding that Hopkins-Sparks has also failed to appear in court 14 times and has had 20 felony warrants. “She’s a huge problem in the community and incredibly likely to reoffend.” Stevens asked for $50,000 bond.

Public Defender Victoria Johnston asked that Hopkins-Sparks be released on her own recognizance, noting she has surgery scheduled at the end of the month. Hopkins-Sparks attended her video first appearance in a wheelchair.

“She learned her lesson a long time ago about failing to appear,” Johnston said. “We’re here over $111.”

That’s the value of two pieces of jewelry Hopkins-Sparks is accused of stealing, then trying to exchange for cash, all in one store visit.

Judge Ellen Kalama Clark set bond at $25,000.

While Sparks has extensive experience with non-violent crimes, she also has experience as a victim of tragedy. In 2003, a man was sentenced to 25 years for murdering her son. Read a story on that here.

Bearded woman back in court

A woman who sometimes grows a full beard as a symbol of her activism for human rights is back in the Spokane County Superior Court system after a police officer said she grabbed his left testicle.

Paula K. Reynolds-Eblacas, 42, was convicted of stalking in 2006 after a woman said she tried to end a friendship but was inundated with phone calls and others contacts by Reynolds-Eblacas.

Read Tom Clouse’s stories on that case here and here. (Reynolds-Eblacas entered an alford plea to violating a protection order and was credited for one day served in jail.)

Now Reynolds-Eblacas is facing a third-degree assault charge for an alleged attack while she was handcuffed last month.

Police were trying to transport her to a hospital for a mental evaluation when the officer “felt the pressure of Paula squeezing her fist and he thrust his hips away from her hand to break free,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

“The defendant said, ‘I was trying to grab your pant leg and your body got in the way,’” according to the affidavit.

Reynolds-Eblacas pleaded not guilty to the charge Monday.

Whatever happened to: Strollin’ Nolan

Police couldn’t figure out how he did it.

In a Houdini-like disappearance 12 years ago, a handcuffed suspected burglar walked out of the interrogation room and out the door of the public safety building.

It was the first escape in 25 years, but what happened next was more amazing: the escapee mailed his handcuffs back to the public safety building in a story you can read here.

The stunt earned Fred. W. Nolan the nickname “Strollin’ Nolan.”

He explained himself to SR columnist Doug Clark (read the story here) and vowed to accept responsbility for his actions, but dozens criminal convictions and three stints in prison later, Nolan is back in the court system.

Court documents show a green Otter pop popsicle may help seal a conviction against the career criminal. Police found the popsicle wrapper with green liquid inside on the second floor of an office complex Nolan’s charged with burglarizing.

“I further found green liquid in the other suites that had been entered,” Officer Nicholas Gerene wrote in a probable cause affidavit. “I took the wrapper as evidence and submitted it for fingerprinting.”

Police and jail staff also found prescription drugs in his pocket and underwear, Gerene wrote.

According to the affidavit, “Strollin’ Nolan” broke into the Empire Health Services building at 601 W. Fifth Avenue about 8:50 a.m. on June 21.

He damaged an elevator and rummaged through suites before a security officer found him on the second floor, according to the affidavit.

He’s charged with three counts of second-degree burglary for break ins at the offices of Deaconess Medical Center, OB/GYN Association of Spokane and Northwest Orthopedic Surgery and one count of malicious mischief for allegedly damagingng the elevator. He pleaded innocent to the charges July 7.

If Nolan is convicted and sent to prison, it would be his sixth stay at a Washington State Prison. Here’s a list of his incarceration history, courtesy the Washington Department of Corrections:

11/13/1992 - 8/15/1994

03/02/1995 - 03/01/1997

04/23/1998 - 10/20/2001

07/31/2003 - 08/26/2003

07/28/2005 - 02/05/2009

Check out Nolan’s criminal history here.

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor David Stevens will be seeking aggravating circumstances for Nolan’s current charges that could earn him a maximum 10 years in prison instead of the standard 51 to 68 months.

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