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In brief: Suspicious device found

A suspected pipe bomb found Monday morning in Spokane Valley was not what it appeared to be, authorities said.

But the threat closed down a busy Spokane Valley thoroughfare for nearly four hours while the suspicious device was investigated, said Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Dave Reagan.

An employee found the object – a 12-inch plastic tube – while emptying garbage containers about 7:15 a.m. at Einstein’s Car Wash, 307 N. Sullivan Road.

Sullivan Road was closed while bomb technicians and Spokane Valley police investigated and eventually destroyed the item, Reagan said.

Afterward, Sgt. Mike Kittilstved said, “It looked like an actual pipe bomb,” though there was no evidence it was an explosive.

Roads were re-opened to traffic shortly after 11 a.m.


Land swap to aid parks

Fifteen acres of wooded cemetery land will soon belong to Spokane’s parks system.

The Spokane City Council on Monday unanimously approved a deal in the works for almost two years with the Fairmount Memorial Association.

The deal includes a land trade that will turn over to the city parks department 15 acres that already is used for walking trails near Joe Albi Stadium. In exchange for the land, the city agreed to give Fairmount five acres south of the stadium where the association has said it may build a maintenance shop.

The city will pay $2,500 for closing costs related to the deal. The land swap idea originated as new plans emerged to create a park north of the stadium, where the current Dwight Merkel Field soccer complex is located.

In 2007, money for the park was included in a tax proposal aimed mostly at rebuilding swimming pools.

Parks leaders expect to choose a contractor for the $8.6 million park next month. Plans include a softball complex, a BMX track, a skateboard park and soccer fields.

Coeur d’Alene

New cocaine charges filed

A prominent Coeur d’Alene insurance agent and school booster charged with possessing cocaine this month is part of a larger criminal conspiracy investigation involving at least a half a kilogram of the drug and dating back more than a year.

In addition to a state charge of possession of a controlled substance, Jerry S. Carlson, 47, faces three federal charges, one related to distribution of more than 500 grams of cocaine that took place over several months, documents show.

Carlson was indicted on charges of conspiracy to posses with intent to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to deliver cocaine, and attempt to possess with intent to deliver cocaine.

Carlson was arrested Feb. 13 after Idaho State Police investigators found three bags of cocaine in a storage facility behind his insurance business on Government Way.


Bank worker robbed

Two men robbed a downtown banker taking a cigarette break Monday after he turned down their offer to sell him marijuana, Spokane police said.

A Bank of America employee told police he was standing near the building at 601 W. Riverside Ave. about 3 p.m. when two men asked if he’d like to buy marijuana, then one stuck a gun in his stomach and demanded money when he declined, said Officer Brian Eckersley.

The men fled with an undisclosed amount of money. The gunman had a medium build and wore dark clothes, according to police, and his accomplice had a heavier build and wore dark clothes and a red and white bandanna over his face. Both were described as 18-20 years old and about 5-foot-8.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Meghann M. Cuniff

Jody Lawrence-Turner Jonathan Brunt Meghann M. Cuniff