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Two arrested in string of robberies

The Spokane Police Department has identified the two suspects arrested Friday in connection with a string of robberies at payday loan shops and pharmacies. Zachary Tyler Allen, 19, and Kimberly Ann Norman, 20, were booked into Spokane County jail on Saturday.

Allen was charged with eight counts of first-degree robbery and Norman was charged with seven counts of first-degree robbery.

Police said Friday that the pair’s alleged crime spree began at Northwest Food Mart on North Driscoll Boulevard with robberies there on Jan. 8 and Jan. 11.

Two Check Into Cash locations and a Check And Go center were robbed between Jan. 14 and Jan. 29.

Allen and Norman also are suspects in an OxyContin robbery at Shopko on North Newport Highway, last week.


Band member accused of assault

The co-founder of the rock group Saving Abel and another employee of the band are facing charges after authorities say they forced a 17-year-old girl to perform a sex act following a concert in Oakland.

Thirty-three-year-old Jason Null and 21-year-old Brandon Danger were arraigned Friday on charges of forced oral copulation and forced oral copulation on a minor.

Null, a founder and lead guitarist with the group, pleaded not guilty. His attorney says the charges are “baseless,” and his client will be exonerated. Danger has yet to enter a plea.

Police say the girl was lured onto the band’s tour bus Tuesday night thinking she would be in a rock video. Once inside, they say she was forced to perform the sex act.

Saving Abel is scheduled to appear Monday at the Spokane Arena, along with Papa Roach, Buckcherry and Avenged Sevenfold.


Volcano letting out steam again

Geologists flew to Mount Redoubt to collect gas samples and look for signs of an eruption.

Geophysicist Rick Wessels of the Alaska Volcano Observatory says a steam plume was again spotted Saturday coming from above the 7,000-foot level near a dome that formed after the last Redoubt eruption in 1990.

The observatory two weeks ago detected a sharp increase in earthquakes underneath the mountain about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage and warned an eruption could be imminent.

Magma moving up the mountain warmed rock and created a fumarole, an opening in the earth that emits gases and steam. The activity has melted holes in Drift Glacier, which partly covers the mountain on its north side.

Elevated seismic activity also continues.

From staff and wire reports