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Meth, cash, guns seized after standoff

Thu., May 28, 2009, 1:56 p.m.

A Spokane County Sheriff’s SWAT team that busted into an apartment Wednesday night after a day-long standoff found something unusual: a man-sized hole in the bathroom ceiling and insulation covering the floor.

“We found him stuffed in a far corner up in the trusses in the rafters,” said Sgt. Brett Gores.

They also found a pound and a half of methamphetamine and $8,500, according to the Sheriff’s Office, along with 10 stolen firearms in the apartment.

It was another notable moment in a colorful life of crime for Casey D. Beckham, 33, who’s also wanted for questioning by Washington State Patrol after a man on a stolen ATV eluded a ranger in Riverside State Park last month.

A Crime Stoppers reward has been out for his capture since March.

Beckham was arrested about 11:30 p.m. on a dozen warrants for drug possession, bail jumping, possession of stolen property and escape.

Police had been at the Whitworth Arms apartments near East Hawthorne Road and North Mayberry since about 10 a.m., when they spotted a car belonging to Beckham’s girlfriend, Stephanie Greeley, and arrested her on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Beckham appeared in Spokane County Superior Court via video Thursday.

Negotiators tried for hours to get Beckham to surrender before pumping chemicals into the third-floor unit, Gores said.

The SWAT team smashed down the door shortly after.

Beckham’s criminal history goes back to at least 1995, when he walked away from a Spokane County Jail work crew while serving nine months for theft and burglary, news archives show.

It culminated in October 2003 when he pleaded guilty to eight crimes involving drug possession and theft. But when Spokane County Superior Court Greg Sypolt handed a longer-than-expected sentence, Beckham tried to withdraw his plea. The Washington Court of Appeals rejected his appeal the following year.

Beckham was released from prison in April 2008, according to the Department of Corrections. He’d already served four years for a February 1997 residential burglary that earned the victim the Sheriff’s Office Concerned Citizen Award after she chased Beckham and his cohort, hit their car and forced them into a ditch on a rural road near Valleyford.

Beckham faces additional charges of meth with intent to deliver, possession and trafficking of stolen property, felon unlawfully possessing firearms and assault. The ten firearms confiscated were stolen in a Memorial Day burglary, Gores said.

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