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In brief: Steel recycler’s call leads to arrest

Tue., April 22, 2014

A steel recycling business reported a suspected scrap metal thief Sunday, and police made an arrest.

Norman Stearns, 36, is accused of stealing metal grates from an area car wash and attempting to sell the metal pieces to Pacific Steel and Recycling.

Surveillance cameras at Brown Bear Car Wash off Sunset Boulevard captured Stearns lifting metal grates valued at $2,000 and placing them in his van early Wednesday, according to court documents.

An employee at Pacific Steel reported the suspicious deposit to Spokane police on Friday, when Stearns returned to sell more grates, this time allegedly taken from the Brown Bear Car Wash on North Market Street. Stearns told police he’d sold the iron grates for gas money, according to court documents.

Theft of federal rocks brings prison term

BOISE – A Nampa man has been sentenced to nine months in prison for stealing rocks from federal land.

Brian Kirkpatrick, 46, pleaded guilty to stealing more than 9,800 pounds of sandstone from Bureau of Land Management property to sell commercially for use in landscaping projects. He had a similar federal offense in 2009 and is currently in prison on related state charges.

He was convicted of theft of government property.

“Protecting Idaho’s public lands is a priority for my office,” said U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson. “Public lands are just that: They are there for the public to enjoy. This prosecution hopefully sends a strong message that my office will prosecute those who illegally exploit public lands for their own gain.”

City wants quicker reviews of shootings

Spokane wants county prosecutors to give greater priority to quickly reviewing officer-involved shooting cases

It can take Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker’s office a year or longer after receiving the investigative files to decide whether to clear the officers of criminal culpability, said Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder, who serves as chairman of the city’s Public Safety Commission. Justice Department officials also have expressed concern over the length of time it takes Tucker to review the files, Snyder said.

The delay puts departmental disciplinary reviews on hold, keeps officers’ status uncertain and prevents the city from providing the public with a full explanation of why deadly force was used, Snyder said.

The City Council agreed Monday to send a letter to Tucker urging swifter reviews of the cases.

Fairchild units honored for work at slide

Members of the Fairchild-based 141st Washington National Guard Air Refueling Wing and Civil Engineering Squadron were recognized Monday night by the city of Spokane for their search and extraction efforts at the site of the deadly Oso mudslide in Snohomish County. More than 70 members of the unit were activated for duty at the site of the March 22 slide, which killed more than 40 people.

“These Air National Guard members are our neighbors, our friends and colleagues,” City Council President Ben Stuckart said. “The work they did in Snohomish County was honorable and represented our community well.”

Fire starts in garage, destroys home

A garage fire spread to a home in Mead on Monday evening.

The home in the 15000 block of North Richmond Lane was destroyed as the fire from the detached garage then spread to another nearby structure. No one was hurt, according to fire officials. It may have been started by sparks as a man worked on a car in the garage, television station KHQ reported.

Firefighters from District 4 extinguished the flames before the third structure was burned.

Fitzgerald appointed county clerk

Timothy W. Fitzgerald has been appointed Spokane County clerk.

Fitzgerald is a retired Marine Corps colonel who worked in general management, the military justice system and staff coordination operations.

His appointment follows the retirement of Thomas Fallquist. The appointment will be in effect until voters choose a clerk to the four-year post in the fall election.

Wave-swept log kills beachgoer

FLORENCE, Ore. – A man who was one minute relaxing against a large log on an Oregon beach was the next minute fatally injured when a large wave turned his backrest into a bludgeon.

The Oregon State Police said the man was with family members Sunday and sitting on the sand near Florence, his back against the log. A relative was on the log near him and got knocked away. As the man tried to help her up, the receding water washed the log over him. Police identified him as 58-year-old Ming Hsieh, of Eugene.


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