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In brief: Police accuse man of emptying mailboxes

One man’s Christmastime crime spree rivaled the Grinch’s.

Coeur d’Alene police arrested Joseph Michael O’Masters, 43, of Hayden Lake, for grand theft after they found him with stolen property worth more than $1,275 in the 3200 block of West Manning Loop.

Police responded to a report Friday about 2:55 a.m. of a suspicious person who appeared to be going through mailboxes in the Hawks Nest neighborhood in northwest Coeur d’Alene.

They located a vehicle that was next to a mailbox that matched the description given by the reporting party.

Upon investigating, officers found 107 pieces of mail and presents – including holiday cards, photos and letters – from about 50 addresses in the Coeur d’Alene and Hayden areas.

Police said they will return whatever items they can to the rightful owners.

It is unclear how long the suspect has been stealing from mailboxes, police said, and the investigation is continuing.

Megaloads case postponed

LEWISTON – The Idaho Transportation Department says a recommendation in the ConocoPhillips megaloads case has been postponed until after Christmas.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that no date has been set for the recommendation being prepared by mediator Merlyn Clark, a Boise attorney.

His recommendation to ITD will help the agency decide whether it should issue permits to ConocoPhillips.

ConocoPhillips wants to haul two very large drums that have been split in half to a Billings refinery from the Port of Lewiston.

ExxonMobil plans to send 207 megaloads on the same highway next year, destined to move through Montana to the Canadian oil sands.

Services affected by holiday

Here’s what’s open and closed today for Christmas:

Mail: Post offices are closed and no mail will be delivered.

Garbage pickup: The Waste-to-Energy facility and transfer stations in Spokane County are closed.

Liquor stores: All state-run liquor stores in Washington and Idaho are closed. Contract liquor stores in Washington may be open.

Parking: Parking meters do not have to be plugged.

Libraries: Spokane Public Library branches and the Coeur d’Alene Public Library are closed.

Riverfront Park: The Ice Palace and Imax Theater are open. The Spokane Falls Skyride and Carousel are closed. Check www.spokaneriverfront for hours of operation.

Shot eagle recovering

SEQUIM, Wash. – A wounded bald eagle that nearly died Monday is recovering at the Northwest Raptor and Wildlife Center in Sequim.

The center says it’s unclear whether the eagle will recover enough to be able to return to the wild.

It was shot in the left wing and found floundering on the ground about 10 miles north of Forks. The bird has been in the center’s care since Dec. 15.

Man guilty in Craigslist case

MISSOULA – A 43-year-old Missoula man appearing in court as the latest in a string of clients for a Craigslist teenage prostitution ring pleaded “no contest” to the charges.

The Missoulian reports John Skelton entered the plea on Wednesday, a day after alleged organizer Richard Carpita pleaded guilty to running the ring.

Court documents say Skelton responded to Craigslist ads and paid for sex three times this year.

Skelton received a six-month suspended sentence and was ordered to pay $635 in fines and court costs. Being a client of prostitution is a high misdemeanor.

The two men who ran the ring face felony penalties.

The men are accused of advertising the services of underage girls in the “casual encounters” section of Craigslist.


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