January 9, 2014 in City

In brief: Sacred Heart pill thief pleads guilty

 

A Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center pharmacy technician linked to more than 250,000 missing painkiller pills over a period of several years pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to theft, money laundering and dealing controlled substances.

Paul Martsin, 25, agreed to a deal that will send him to prison for five years and require him to pay close to $11,700 to the hospital, where surveillance cameras caught him removing bottles of hydrocodone and codeine cough syrup from May to July 2013. A subsequent search of Martsin’s apartment turned up thousands of pills, several bottles of cough syrup and cash.

Detectives tracked bank accounts belonging to Martsin and think he used money from the sale of the prescription medications to pay off gambling debts that exceeded $10,000.

As part of the plea, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will not be filing additional charges against Martsin, prosecuting attorney John Grasso said in court Wednesday. Spokane Superior Court Judge Linda Tompkins will decide next month whether to accept the plea agreement.

Kip Hill

Dog, tracks lead to suspects

Three men who allegedly robbed an apartment while wearing superhero masks were arrested Wednesday morning after a police dog – and snow tracks – led to them from the crime scene, deputies say.

Two men were tied up with duct tape and robbed in their Spokane Valley apartment in the 11000 block of East Third Avenue by three men wearing superhero masks, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. One of the residents said he was punched and pushed to the ground by one of the robbers when he answered a knock at the door around 4 a.m., according to court documents. Numerous items were taken, including a television, computer, cellphone and wallet.

The victim told police that he recognized one of the robbers and knew where he lived. K-9 Laslo followed the robbers’ scent – and three sets of tracks in the snow – to a home in the 100 block of North University Road, the Sheriff’s Office said. The three suspects were found inside along with all the stolen items, according to deputies.

Robert Burke, 32, was arrested along with Joshua Elmgren, 26, and Derek Sczenski, 32. All three face charges of first-degree robbery and unlawful imprisonment.

Nina Culver

Hooters restaurant closes

The Hooters Restaurant in Spokane Valley closed this week as plans developed for two new businesses in the building.

The adjoining Owl Club Casino will remain open, according to owner Hootwinc LLC, which owns Hooters restaurants around the country. Hooters opened the restaurant in 2004.

A restaurant called Egg It On will open later this year in the Hooters space east of the Spokane Valley Mall along East Indiana Avenue, KREM-TV reported, along with a separate restaurant and sports bar.

Staff report

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