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In brief: Police chief finalists will be named today

Wed., July 18, 2012

Spokane Mayor David Condon has selected four finalists he’s considering to be the city’s next police chief.

City spokeswoman Marlene Feist said the city will release their names this morning and will detail how the mayor will choose the next chief. The process will include opportunities for public involvement, she said.

Chief Anne Kirkpatrick retired at the end of last year. Condon said last month that he’s been impressed with interim Chief Scott Stephens but that he is looking for a leader outside the department.

‘Bad Hair Bandit’ suspect charged

A former Kootenai County Jail nurse who also worked in elementary schools has been charged with robbing 21 banks in Washington, Oregon, California and Montana.

Cynthia Lynn Van Holland, 48, is accused of being the “Bad Hair Bandit,” a serial robber nicknamed by the FBI because she wore a variety of ugly wigs during the heists, which authorities allege netted about $42,000.

Van Holland has been in jail in California since Placer County sheriff’s deputies arrested her last August after a robbery in Auburn, about 35 miles northeast of Sacramento. Her 26-year-old husband, Christopher Alonzo, also was arrested. Van Holland confessed to the four-state robbery spree, including a heist in Spokane on May 9, 2011, in an interview with an FBI agent at the Placer County Jail the day of her arrest, according to court documents.

Van Holland worked as a contract nurse in jails and prisons and met Alonzo, a convicted felon from North Idaho, when he was an inmate. She was working at the Kootenai County Jail until about a week before her arrest.

Man who robbed boy given 15-year term

A 23-year-old man who robbed a boy lured to Spokane through Facebook avoided a sentence of life in prison recently when a judge approved a plea deal.

David Michael Martinez was sentenced to 15 years in prison for first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and third-degree assault. He was arrested in June 2011 for first-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery and faced life in prison without the possibility of parole under Washington’s three-strikes law. Prosecutors agreed to reduce the charges “given the difficult circumstances of defendant’s childhood upbringing,” according to court documents.

On Thursday, Spokane County Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza approved the 180-month sentence, which is exceptionally high for the gun and assault convictions.

Martinez admitted to robbing a Post Falls boy who arranged to meet a girl through Facebook.

The victim said he agreed to meet the girl at Corbin Park with $75, but when he got in her Chevy Tahoe, two men later identified as Martinez and Brendan T. Dalla pointed handguns at him and demanded his money, according to court documents. Dalla was sentenced in November to four years in prison for second-degree robbery.


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