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In brief: Burglar is convicted after two mistrials

It took three tries, but a jury has convicted prolific thief Gary D. McCabe of burglary for the 17th time.

A jury late Friday found McCabe, 45, guilty of residential burglary and possession of a controlled substance. They acquitted him on one misdemeanor count of possession of stolen property.

McCabe was convicted of stealing more than $25,000 worth of rare gold and silver coins from a man who began his collection in 1960. McCabe, who recently was sentenced to seven years in prison for an earlier burglary, faces a similar sentence when he is sentenced on March 8 before Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque.

Two previous trials ended in mistrial, including one when a juror realized during the trial that McCabe was possibly the burglar who broke into her home last August.

Rise in inmates limits bookings

An increase in the number of inmates prompted the Spokane County Jail to begin limiting new bookings on Tuesday.

As of noon Tuesday, 665 people were housed at the jail. Booking restrictions are put in place once the population climbs above 650.

Bookings generally will be limited to major crimes, probation and U.S. Marshal holds or misdemeanor offenses with mandatory arrests such as domestic violence incidents.

Drunken driving arrests also will be booked, along with warrants preventing release on own recognizance.

“No other misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor charges will be booked without a supervisor from the arresting agency contacting the jail shift sergeant to request an exception,” according to a news release by Sgt. Dave Reagan.

Committee swaps agency merger bills

Legislation to merge the Washington’s parks and wildlife agencies into a new Department of Fish, Wildlife and Recreation was approved Monday by the Senate Natural Resources and Marine Waters Committee, but not before compromises were made.

The substitute measure retains the current policy and rule-making authority of the Fish and Wildlife Commission and Parks and Recreation Commission. The original proposal supported by Gov. Chris Gregoire would have reduced the panels to advisory roles.

Currently, those commissions hire and fire their agency directors. The substitute bill gives the governor authority to appoint a Department of Fish, Wildlife and Recreation secretary from a list of five candidates submitted by the wildlife and parks commissions.

The substitute version of Senate Bill 5669 goes to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Police arrest man on child rape

A Seattle man visiting relatives in Spokane has been arrested for child rape.

James E. Norby, 67, is accused of sexually assaulting two young girls while visiting family in north Spokane County.

He was booked into jail Monday on charges of first-degree child rape and first-degree child molestation.

The girls were sleeping when one awoke to Norby “in the act of the sexual assault,” according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

The girls’ parents called police. Norby has no criminal history in Spokane County.

Suspect’s ID card, mail aid in arrest

A suspected gas thief tipped off police by discarding her mail in the station trashcan and leaving her identification card with an employee.

Spokane Valley police tracked Lacey Nicole Trottier, 21, to her apartment in the 1800 block of North Hutchinson Road by checking the discarded mail.

She’s suspected of stealing $60 in fuel from the Cenex Station, 15504 E. Fourth Ave., on Monday. When police arrived, the station employee said the same driver left her identification card behind while stealing $75 in fuel on Jan. 29.

Cpl. Darin Staley arrested Trottier on two new charges of second-degree theft, as well as driving with license suspended and possession of methamphetamine for a small quantity of meth found in her purse, according to a news release.

Trottier also was booked on a warrant for a 2009 second-degree theft case in which she’s accused of stealing $400 from a cash register at TJ Maxx in the Spokane Valley Mall, where she was employed.

‘Conscience law’ change moves on

BOISE – A new amendment to Idaho’s “conscience law” was introduced Tuesday with the backing of House State Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, who has blocked three other bills seeking to protect patients’ living wills from being violated due to a health care provider’s conscience.

Idaho AARP spokesman David Irwin said the new measure doesn’t fix the problem, because it still would let health care providers violate patients’ living wills specifying which end-of-life care they want or don’t want, due to the provider’s own personal concern. “We don’t view this as progress,” Irwin said.

Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Meridian, a co-sponsor of the new measure, said, “The physician ought to have some say in what the treatment is and whether it’s appropriate.” The bill’s introduction Tuesday clears the way for a full hearing on it in the committee.

Two arrested after apartment search

Two burglary suspects were arrested Monday after one invited police to search his apartment and they found a stolen TV.

Jarrod J. Howard, 29, assured Spokane Valley police Officer Chan Erdman he wouldn’t find anything in his apartment at 10101 E. Main Ave. when Erdman arrived to investigate a burglary at a neighbor’s residence. Erdman found the TV under a blanket on a bed.

A witness called police after spotting Howard and another man stealing from the apartment. Police also found stolen knives and Xbox games.

Howard was booked into jail on a burglary charge with suspected accomplice Justin Spenser Johns, 25.