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In brief: Spokane’s auto theft rate is nation’s fourth-highest

Sat., June 23, 2012

For the second year in a row, Spokane had the fourth-highest auto theft rate in the nation, according to an insurance industry group.

Spokane’s auto-theft rate was again highest in the state, the same study said.

The NW Insurance Council measures thefts per 100,000 inhabitants. Spokane’s theft rate last year was 551.75, which is a decline from a rate of 586 the previous year. That rate applies to the metropolitan area, which includes Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake.

Yakima had the second-highest auto theft rate in the state, at 529.25, while the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area ranked third, at 445.83. Bellingham had the lowest auto theft rate among the Washington cities listed, at 119.31, the study found.

The study was conducted by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Woman arrested in heroin bust

A heroin bust Friday at a Spokane home involves associates of Charles Robert Wallace, who shot two Spokane County sheriff’s deputies this week before taking his own life.

Julie Ann Lewis-Rice, 38, was arrested during a SWAT team search at a home in the 900 block of East Bismark Avenue on Friday morning.

She was one of eight suspects named in a federal investigation into a heroin-distribution ring involving Wallace, but prosecutors dismissed her charges on May 15.

She was booked into jail on heroin delivery charges Friday. The raid came after a confidential informant bought heroin from a woman who obtained it from the home on June 14, according to police.

Spokane police drug detectives seized police scanners, $777 in cash, heroin, loaded syringes and other drug paraphernalia from the home.

Offender arrested after chase

A sex offender sought by Crime Stoppers was arrested Thursday after leading troopers on a chase in the West Plains area.

Phillip John Motyka, 45, pulled into a parking lot but circled through and got back onto state Route 2 after Washington State Patrol Trooper Chad Kindler tried to stop him for driving without a front license plate.

Trooper Tom Shirey joined in the pursuit and followed Motyka to another parking lot and attempted to stop the car with a driving maneuver after Motyka struck his patrol car, according to WSP. Motyka eventually surrendered.

Motyka was arrested on drug charges as well as attempt to elude, hit and run, and driving while license suspended.

Man shot by officer held on bond

A man who was shot by a Spokane police officer as he confronted another man with what turned out to be a BB gun will remain jailed on $10,000 bond.

Jesse Hugh Johnson, 24, appeared before a judge on Friday on charges related to an incident early Sunday near Napa Street and Mission Avenue in which he was shot in the right leg by Spokane police Officer Ron Van Tassel.

Van Tassel was responding to a report of a man armed with a shotgun when he saw Johnson pointing a weapon at Corey Hall-Cottrell, who is Johnson’s former roommate.

Van Tassel, 31, shot Johnson “with the belief that if he did not act immediately Hall-Cottrell would be shot,” according to court documents.

Police noticed Johnson trying to hide something in his mouth while in the emergency room and discovered it was a bag of methamphetamine.

Johnson said in an interview Monday from his hospital bed that he intended to shoot the man with the BB gun because he believes the man stole two bicycles.

In addition to a drug possession charge, police are asking prosecutors to charge Johnson with fourth-degree assault, reckless endangerment, intimidation with a weapon and aiming or discharging a dangerous weapon.

Pair suing Post Falls pastor

Attorneys for a North Idaho pastor and a California-based church are asking a judge to toss a lawsuit brought by four men who say the church didn’t protect them from a sexual predator.

The men filed the lawsuit in 1st District Court against pastor Bob Davis of North Country Chapel in Post Falls and Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, Calif., the Coeur d’Alene Press reported. The men contend they were abused as teenagers by a man who provided youth services for the church, and that the pastor and church knew that the youth services leader had a history of abusing children.

Davis’ attorney said the allegations are false. Attorney Randall Adams, representing the California church, said there’s no connection between his client and the men or their alleged abuser.


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