January 24, 1995 in Nation/World

Idaho Police End Teen Crime Spree

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Two Spokane men suspected of raping and kidnapping one woman and later shooting at another during a robbery were arrested Monday after a high-speed chase in Idaho.

Johnas Bower and William Caietti, both 18, were caught after they ran a roadblock and led police on a 10-mile chase near Grangeville, said Idaho County Sheriff R.E. “Gene” Meinen.

During the chase, officers fired three shotgun blasts at the car, and a fragment from one piece of buckshot struck Bower in the wrist, causing an inch-long gash, Meinen said.

Bower was treated for the cut before he was booked into the Idaho County jail. The two are charged in Idaho with possessing a stolen car and eluding officers. In Spokane, they face charges of armed robbery, rape and kidnapping.

The crime spree started about 1:30 a.m. Monday in the rape victim’s South Hill home. Police spokesman Dick Cottam said the woman was acquainted with one of her attackers.

The victim told police three men entered her home in the 1100 block of West 10th Avenue but that one left when the other two raped her. Police would not identify the third suspect, and it was not clear whether he had been identified or will face charges.

After the rape, the two men tied up their victim and forced her into her own car, Cottam said. They showed up at Qwik-Stop, E8119 Sprague, about 5 a.m. with their hostage still in the back seat.

Clerk Paula Thomas said one of the men came into the store and asked her to activate a gas pump so the other could fill the car’s tank. The man in the store pointed a .22-caliber handgun at Thomas and demanded cash.

Thomas said she gave the man $40 from the till. The pair also stole $17 worth of gas.

“He told me I was coming with him (as a hostage) and I said ‘Oh, no, I’m not,”’ said Thomas, 48.

Instead, Thomas said, she darted into a restroom, just as the robber fired his gun. The bullet struck the steel door frame as Thomas was crossing the threshold.

“I could feel the heat of the bullet across my cheek,” she said.

From inside the locked restroom, Thomas heard several more shots. Police later found six empty casings inside the store and three more outside, she said.

From the store, the robbers returned to the South Hill and went into a house near Sixth and Crestline, Cottam said. There, the rape victim either escaped or was released, and called police.

The pair fled before police arrived.

Idaho County authorities say officers spotted the stolen car at 9:08 a.m., just minutes after hearing an all-points bulletin about the crime spree. Officers from the county Sheriff’s Department, and the Cottonwood and Grangeville Police Departments, were involved in the chase.

Meinen said one officer flattened the car’s right front tire with a shotgun blast as the suspects drove through a roadblock.

Farther down the road, a second officer fired another round into the car’s body, Meinen said. A third blast from another officer hit the car’s left rear tire, causing a slow leak.

The car came to a stop five miles after the final shots were fired. The two gave up without a struggle, Meinen said.

Both suspects have criminal convictions.

In 1994, Bower was convicted of second-degree burglary, fourthdegree assault, obstructing an officer and taking a car without the owner’s permission. Details about the crimes were not available late Monday.

Caietti has two juvenile convictions and in 1994 was served with a domestic violence protection order.

This is the second time in three months Thomas has been the victim of a robbery at the Qwik-Stop. She said she’s decided to find another job.


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