News


Suspects have family ties to legal system

SATURDAY, FEB. 14, 2004, 4:59 P.M.

Two friends arrested Thursday in a crime spree connected to street racing have fathers who work to put criminals behind bars.

Joshua James Mulvey, 20, and Michael Vance Peterson, 18, were among 15 suspects rounded up in raids by detectives from the Washington State Patrol, Spokane Police and Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

WSP Detective E.J. Swainson said Mulvey is the son of longtime Spokane County Deputy Ron Mulvey and Peterson is the son of Spokane District Court Judge Vance Peterson.

Swainson said he spoke to both fathers during the investigation.

“They were both helpful and in no way was I hindered in either case,” Swainson said. “They are disappointed fathers.”

Ron Mulvey did not return a message left Friday with his sergeant. Peterson’s secretary said the judge could not comment because of legal reasons.

Cpl. Dave Reagan, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said Mulvey has worked for the office more than 22 years.

“His son is an adult who has been arrested,” Reagan said. “I’m sure it affects Ron, but it does not affect his employment. No parent wants their child arrested.”

Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Garvin, who will prosecute the case, said he has not spoken with Deputy Mulvey or Judge Peterson.

“They don’t get a better deal or a worse deal,” Garvin said. “They get the same treatment that everybody else gets.”

On Friday, the Pullman Police Department arrested Nathan S. Oh, 21. Only two suspects remain at large: Jacob Perry Biggs, 20, is in Canada and 19-year-old Brandon Keith Huartson is in Florida, Swainson said.

“It was a very successful raid,” Swainson said of the operation seeking to find 18 suspects wanted for 100 felony counts.

Joshua Mulvey was one of the ringleaders of that circle of friends who used stolen car parts and Internet fraud with the motivation of making their cars faster for street racing, Swainson said.

“I would actually call Mulvey a genius,” Swainson said. “The guy was able to come up with schemes where he was able to get people to send cars over eBay from California and Oregon without paying a dime.”

Mulvey put a Canadian man out of business after he convinced him to ship a high-performance engine to Mulvey without payment, the detective said.

Swainson told Deputy Mulvey that his son had the talent to work for government intelligence agencies.

“To see him wasting that genius on criminal enterprises is really sad and damaging to our community,” Swainson said.

Mulvey faces 14 felony charges that range from forgery to first-degree trafficking in stolen property.

Peterson faces six felony charges that range from forgery to first-degree theft.

Arresting the son of a judge and the son of a deputy was “uncomfortable, obviously,” Swainson said. “But they are grown men who made their own choices. They are responsible for their own actions.”

Those actions have also caused problems for other street racers who put their own money into their cars, said 20-year-old Shane Greenfield of Coeur d’Alene.

“I think it has shed some dark light on what a lot of us do legitimately,” Greenfield said. “The only stories you see about our culture are bad stories.

“You don’t see stories about us doing something constructive with our time.”

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Felony warrants

Arrested Thursday on felony arrest warrants were Joshua James Mulvey, 20; James Robert Richardson, 25; Richard Lee Sturm, 21; Sean Albert McGee, 22; Brian Nicholas Richardson, 23; Michael Vance Peterson, 18; Matthew Allyn Labish, 23; Joshua Wayne Chaney, 24; Adam Andrew Shaw, 18; Steven B. Worden, 21; Ross T. Long, 20; Christopher James Dowers, 22; Randy Allen Heintz, 22; Tiffany M. White, 18; and Paul Fredrick Weissenfels, 26.

MEMO: Thomas Clouse can be reached at (509) 459-5495 or tomc@spokesman.com.



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