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Crime Stoppers identifies ten new fugitives

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Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest are looking for ten fugitives, three of whom are active, repeat offenders.

Repeat offender suspects are those criminals considered by law enforcement to be the most active offenders in the community, according to Crime Stoppers. There is a double reward for repeat offenders.

Crime Stoppers fugitives are wanted criminal suspects avoiding police capture. Do not approach them. They should only be contacted by law enforcement.

Anyone with information about these fugitive's whereabouts is asked to call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-800-222-TIPS. Tipsters don't have to give their name to collect the fugitive reward.

New Crime Stoppers fugitives

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Authorities are offering rewards for information on these these five fugitives.

Persons with information regarding their whereabouts should call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-800-222-TIPS, or should forward the tip via www.crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org.

Tipsters do not have to give their name to collect the cash reward.

Do you know this child porn peddler?

Federal authorities are trying to identify a woman who is featured in child pornography with victims who have yet to be rescued.

The woman could live anywhere in the United States. She is depicted in several videos discovered in June during a child pornography investigation in Colorado.

  The videos featured two young girls, estimated to be tween 3 and 7 years old, who were also featured in child pornography seized in Los Angeles in June 2011.

 The material found in Colorado appears to be first time investigators could see an adult's face. A man who also is shown sexually abusing the girls digitally obscured his face in the material, making him unrecognizable.

The woman appears to be white, about 25 to 35 years old with a medium building, black to dark brown hair and blues eyes. She has a large mole on the back of her left thigh.

Several of the images were created in February 2010. The material depicts a home “which appears to be of typical North American construction found in several areas of the United States.”

The home has standard North American electrical switches. Agents noted two U.S. Army duffel bags, a U.S. Army poncho liner and U.S. Army desert boots in some of the image. Agents also observed a cardboard box with “Sunkist” written on it and a mattress with “Serta Perfect Sleep” written on it. The book “Animal Tracking Basics” by John Young and Tiffany Morgan is on a nightstand.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says the identities of the victims and perpetrators are unknown, and the victims have yet to be rescued.

Prosecutors in Washington, D.C. issued an arrested warrant this week for the woman on charges of sexual exploitation of children and conspiracy. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigation.

“Jane Doe's information and photos are being distributed through law enforcement channels by the HSI's Victim Identification Unit, HSI Los Angeles and NCMEC in a unified effort to find the perpetrators and rescue the two children,” according to a news release.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-866-347-2423 or submit tips online.

Jury indicts Tasered fugitive for gun

A grand jury has indicted a mail thief who shot a round from a fire arm after being shocked with a stun gun by U.S. Marshals last month.

Tony L. Gust, 33, faces up to 10 years in federal prison if convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

He was arrested July 20 after federal agents found him at his home in the 22000 block of West Jacobs Road, northwest of Airway Heights, and watched as he ran into his trailer and “armed himself with a firearm,” according to a news release.

He was struck with a taser, and “subsequently a round was fired from the weapon Gust was holding,” the news release said. Gust was arrested without further incident.

Gust was arrested in January 2011 after a postal inspector recognized him from surveillance video that showed him breaking into post office boxes at the Opportunity post office, 11712 E. Sprague Ave.

He was sentenced in June to three years of probation, but that was revoked in October and he was sent to jail for six months. He left in April and was to participate in a treatment program.

Authorities noted his “troubling history of violence and offenses involving firearms,” in court documents filed in May 2011, which his lawyer attributed to Gust's “physical, mental and dependency problems” and said treatment would serve well.

He remains in custody at the Spokane County Jail after pleading not guilty to the charge on Tuesday. A probation violation hearing is scheduled for Aug. 21.

N. Idaho check theft suspects arrested

  A 28-year-old man and a 17-year-old runaway linked by police to check thefts in Coeur d'Alene are in custody.

Michael Graham Wilkins and Lacey Lynn Fugate were arrested at the Lake Drive Motel, 316 E. Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive, Friday about 6:30 p.m. after detectives received a tip that they were there, Coeur d'Alene police said today.

Police found property purchased with stolen credit cards and checks in the motel room, including a printer and package of blank checks purchased online.

Officers arrested Wilkins and Fugate on warrants out of Douglas County, Oregon, where Roseburg is.

They face new charges of grand theft and burglary in Kootenai County.

Reward targets fugitive sex offender

A sex offender wanted since January for failing to register with authorities is being sought by Crime Stoppers.

A reward is available for information that leads to the arrest of Jack Edward Johannbroer, 47, who was convicted of first-degree child molestation in 1993 in Spokane County.

Johannbroer is a level 1 sex offender, which is the classification considered least likely to reoffend. A $15,000 warrant was issued Jan. 30 in Spokane County Superior Court for failing to register as a sex offender.

He's been wanted for the crime before. In 2009, “Washington's Most Wanted” featured him and said he'd served more than four years in prison for molesting two girls in Spokane County, for which he was convicted of child molestation.

“Then in 2007, while living in Kennewick, a jury convicted him of beating his girlfriend and choking her until she passed out,” the TV show reported. “He only got probation for that crime.”

Anyone with information on Johannbroer's current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, or submit tips online here.

Tipsers do not have to give their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

Chinese exports case lands in Spokane

A Canadian man suspected of sending United States defense materials to China is in jail in Spokane.

Kevin Zhang, alias Zhao Wei Zhang, 41, was arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol near Metaline Falls on Monday. He’d been wanted since January 2011 on a sealed warrant in federal court in San Diego that accuses him of conspiring to send devices used in tactical missiles and drones to the Chinese.

The charge of conspiracy to export defense articles without a license accuses Zhang, who is a naturalized Canadian citizen living in Calgary, of finding U.S. citizens to legally purchase gyroscopes and send them to China or send them to Canada, where they would then be shipped to China. Zhang has family in China, according to court documents.

Gyroscopes are classified defense materials, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of State. Though available for purchase in the U.S., shipping the material abroad requires a license. U.S. policy prohibits exports of such materials to China.

Investigators say Zhang contacted a man in San Diego on April 6, 2010, and discussed purchasing Gyroscopes “at a premium price for the purpose of circumventing United States export laws and illegally shipping the Gyroscopes to China,” according to court documents.

Zhang also emailed an unnamed co-conspirator and client in China the next day and instructed him to find an export/import agent who does not “play by the rules” to help them get the Gyroscopes into China, the indictment alleges.

Zhang sent another email to the man in San Diego on May 25, 2010, suggesting that he find someone to smuggle the Gyroscopes on an airliner. An agreement was finalized on Oct. 1, 2010, for Zhang to ship three Gyroscopes to China in exchange for $21,000, according to the indictment.

A federal grand jury in Southern California indicted Zhang on Jan. 14, 2011.

He was booked into jail Tuesday about 8:20 p.m. and ordered to stay there to await transportation to California after he appeared Tuesday before U.S. District Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno.

Court documents say Zhang faces a maximum of 5 years in prison if convicted.

Man jumps fences but still can’t escape

A man wanted on a Washington Department of Corrections warrant jumped over fences and made it through six yards before police caught up to him Tuesday. Colton P. Kilgallen, 21, told Deputy Damon Powers he was “just being stupid” and apologized for running after Powers arrested him, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

A homeowner in the 12900 block of East Olive Avenue called police about 6:30 p.m. and reported Kilgallen was in the area. Powers knew Kilgallen has a history of fleeing police, so four other deputies and two Liberty Lake officers arrived to help.

The caller allowed Powers into his backyard, and he recognized Kilgallen on the back porch before Kilgallen ran.
Deputy Dale Wells and two Liberty Lake police officers arrested Kilgallen, according to the release.

Kilgallen was arrested on the DOC warrant for fourth-degree assault and new charges of resisting arrest and eight counts of trespassing, apparently for each private property he accessed.

Woman fails to register as sex offender

A woman convicted of a sexually motivated assault on a teen boy in 2006 is wanted for failing to register as a sex offender.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help arrest Eugenia Ann Reuter, 41, who was not residing at her registered address in the 18000 block of West State Route 902 in Medical Lake when a sheriff's deputy went there on June 28.

A resident told the deputy he had a restraining order against Reuter and that she hadn't lived there in eight months, according to court documents. 

Reuter is required to notify authorities when she moves. She's a level 1 sex offender, which is the classification considered least likely to reoffend.

In addition to a third-degree assault with sexual motivation, Reuter has convictions for prostitution, first-degree theft, making a false statement and theft.

Reuter was dating Billy Morris, a custodian at Spokane City Hall, when he arrived home in 2008 and found her in bed with another man.

The man killed Morris in what he and Reuter said was self defense

A $15,000 warrant was issued Monday for Reuter's arrest for failing to register as a sex offender. Anyone with information on her current location is asked Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Tipsters do not have to leave their name to collect a reward but should give a code name or number.

Tips sought on missing stabbing suspect

 A 19-year-old Spokane man is wanted in connection with a stabbing at a party in January.

Devenir X. Lewis, 19, was to begin trial July 9 for first-degree assault, but he never showed up. A $15,000 warrant was issued after he failed to show up for a pre-trial conference on June 29.

Lewis is accused of stabbing Michael J. Dowd in the head in the 4100 block of North Nevada on Jan. 28 about 12:59 a.m., according to court documents.

The fight broke out when Michael Langford noticed items in his home that appeared to be staged to be stolen and accused three men, according to court documents. Dowd was treated for injuries to his head and hand.

Lewis had a bloody screwdriver with him when he was arrested, according to court documents.

Lewis, 5-foot-4 and 125 pounds, last gave an address in the 0 block of East Olympic Avenue in Spokane.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to his arrest. Anyone with information on his current location.

Anyone with information on his location is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Tipsters do not have to leave their name to collect a reward but should lave a code name or number.

Man arrested in stolen lawnmower caper

A man wanted for violating his Department of Corrections probation was arrested after escaping a garage burglary in Greenacres on a stolen lawnmower, police say.

Robert G. Morey, 22, is accused of stealing firearms and valuable coins from a home in the 5500 block of South Conklin Road before riding away on the Craftsman riding lawnmower.

The homeowners called police Thursday evening and said they'd returned from the lake for the holiday to find their home burglarized.

Earlier, about 9 a.m., Spokane County sheriff's deputies had responded to a report of a man armed with a rifle or shotgun riding a lawnmower in the area of Linke and White roads.

Deputies found the lawnmower about seven miles away in the 19200 block of East Belmont Road. Then about 1:30 p.m., deputies heard reports of a suspicious person walking in the area where the lawnmower was recovered.

Deputies located Morey sitting on an embankment and confirmed he had a DOC escape warrant.

Morey was arrested and told deputies his girlfriend had dropped him off on “some road” after an argument, so he saw an open garage door and took the lawnmower as well as the guns and coins, according to the sheriff's office. Morey showed deputies where he'd ditched the guns.

The burglary was reported later that night, and deputies realized the stolen items matched what Morey told them he'd stolen. He was interviewed again at the jail and admitted to stealing a shotgun, rifle and pistol though he said he dropped the pistol when he stolen the lawnmower because he could' carry everything.

“Morey told deputies he took the guns because he was prohibited from having firearms and wanted one,” according to a news release by sheriff's spokesman Deputy Craig Chamberlin.

Morey said he abandoned the lawnmower when it ran out of gas.

He was booked into jail on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, first-degree burglary, theft of a firearm and second-degree theft.

Morey is on probation after pleading guilty to obtaining a controlled substance by forged prescription and second-degree burglary last year.

Spokane gang team arrests 2 fugitives

The gang team arrested two men this week in Spokane for violating their probation on violent crimes.

Christopher M. Prusch, 35, (pictured left) was booked into jail Wednesday on a Department of Corrections warrant for escape from community custody, Spokane police Officer Matt Rose said today.

His lengthy criminal history includes convictions for second-degree robbery, intimidation of a public servant and hit and run.

 A national sex offender registry website lists Prusch has having a conviction for third-degree rape in 1994, but he's no longer listed in the Spokane County sex offender registry.

Later on Wednesday, the Spokane Violent Crime Gang Enforcement Team also assisted Department of Corrections officers in arresting Ismael M. Tarango, 35, of Walla Walla, for a DOC escape warrant.

Tarango (pictured right) is a convicted killer with convictions for first-degree burglary and second-degree murder from the 1990s. He also was booked into jail.

Fugitive’s wig, dyed hair don’t deter cops

A fugitive wanted on heroin charges was arrested this week after a U.S. Marshal spotted him at a home in Spokane disguised in a blond wig.

Frisco San Juan Ayala, 32, was wearing the wig when federal agents observed him placing backpacks inside two vehicles between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. Monday, according to court documents filed today.

About 9:45 a.m., Ayala got into a gray Dodge truck but crashed into another vehicle at the intersection of East Empire Avenue and North Napa Street, then fled on foot, leaving behind a black pistol, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

He was arrested near Napa and East Gordon Avenue with more than 10 grams of methamphetamine, as well as heroin and “numerous suspected precious gems,” documents say.

Ayala was not wearing the wig at the time, but his hair was dyed and investigators found the wig in the cab of the truck, said Deputy U.S. Marshal Bob Doty.

Ayala is described by federal agents as a “mid- to upper-level drug trafficker in the Spokane area,” according to court documents.

Agents searched the home in the 2100 block of E. Heroy Ave., where Ayala had been spotted that morning, and seized a meth pipe, ammunition and hair dye from the home. The homeowner has a felony crack cocaine distribution conviction from the late 1990s.

Ayala had been wanted since April 18 for a federal case involving the alleged distribution of at least 100 grams of heroin.

Gary Erwin Douglass, 57; Charles R. Wallace, 41; Samuel William Wright, 36; Brian L. Sellers, 35; and James Clayton Lindsay, 57, also are charged.

Charges against Julie A. Rice-Lewis, 38, and Chad Jason Benefield have been dismissed.

Mobster’s girlfriend may appeal sentence

By DENISE LAVOIE,AP Legal Affairs Writer
BOSTON (AP) — The day after the longtime girlfriend of mobster James “Whitey” Bulger was sentenced to eight years in prison for helping him while he was on the run, her lawyer filed a notice in court saying she may appeal.

The one-paragraph document filed in federal court Wednesday says Catherine Greig (pictured) claims her right to appeal to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Though the notice mentions an appeal of the conviction, attorney Kevin Reddington said she is not planning to. The notice can be withdrawn if she decides not to appeal her sentence.

Greig, 61, pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud and conspiracy. She admitted she helped Bulger while he was a fugitive, using false identities, accompanying him to medical appointments and picking up his prescriptions.

Reddington said that Greig was in love with Bulger when she fled Boston with him in 1995 and that she did not believe he was capable of the murders he is accused of committing.

Greig's twin sister wrote in a pre-sentencing letter to the judge that Greig deserved leniency because she “never possessed an evil bone in her body” and wasn't involved in any crimes attributed to Bulger.

Margaret McCusker's letter to U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock said Bulger was charismatic and had “a certain power over people” but added, “I cannot speak to exactly why she left with him.”

McCusker wrote that her sister grew up in a family affected by their father's alcoholism and always “had a sense of duty to care for people.

“She has touched many with her kind acts, and her love for animals is unsurpassed,” McCusker wrote in the letter, unsealed Wednesday.

She said she did not know whether her sister was alive during the time she was gone with Bulger, who's in his 80s.

Bulger and Greig were apprehended in June 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif. They posed as married retirees from Chicago and had a stash of more than $800,000 in cash and 30 weapons in their apartment when they were captured.

On Tuesday, the judge sentenced Greig to eight years in prison, below the 10-year sentence recommended by prosecutors but well above the 27-month sentence recommended by her attorney.

Bulger, the former leader of the notorious Winter Hill Gang and an FBI informant, has pleaded not guilty to charges of participating in 19 murders. He awaits trial.

Under federal rules of appellate procedure, a defendant must file a notice of appeal within 14 days after sentencing. If Greig didn't file the notice, she would be barred from ever considering an appeal, so the notice is a safeguard.

Christina DiIorio-Sterling, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, said it is Greig's right to appeal.

Past coverage:

June 29: Case continues against 'Whitey' Bulger

June 24: Boston mob boss hid in plain sight

Ego-driven sex abuse suspect arrested

A man who wanted to prove to his ex-girlfriend that he wasn't a child molester instead was arrested on a child sex abuse warrant after contacting a Spokane County sheriff's deputy Tuesday in Deer Park.

Jesse A. Smith, 20, apparently did not know of a felony warrant out of Jerome, Idaho, for three counts of lewd conduct with a minor under 16 years old when he contacted sheriff's Deputy Dan Dutton Tuesday about 7:45 p.m.

Dutton was responding to an unrelated domestic situation at a home when Smith knocked on the door and asked to speak to him.

Smith asked Dutton to check his criminal history because his ex-girlfriend sent him a text message accusing him of being a child molester, and he wanted to prove her wrong, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Smith said he would wait by Dutton's patrol car until Dutton was finished at the home. Dutton checked Smith's criminal history and confirmed Smith in fact did have a $75,000-bond warrant that essentially accuses him of being a child molester.

He was booked into the Spokane County Jail on the warrant. He remained there this afternoon awaiting transport to southern Idaho.

232 arrested in ‘Operation Scattergun’

U.S Marshals arrested more than 200 people on felony charges throughout Eastern Washington this week.

Members of the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force worked with local agencies to target felony warrants with a focus on the Spokane, Tri-Cities and Yakima regions.

Among the 232 felony arrests, 34 were for warrants for not complying, 53 were warrants through the Washington Department of Corrections. Thirty-six people were arrested Thursday, 85 were arrested Wednesday and 111 were arrested Tuesday.

Notable fugitives include Eugene Elkins, 56, who is accused of killing his wife in Grays Harbor County, Chad Jackson, 25, for two counts of third-degree rape of a child, and Rogelio Rivera, 28, who's been wanted since September for unlawfully possessing a sawed-off shotgun.

Federal agents called the arrest sweep “Operation Scattergun II.” The first operation last June netted 177 arrests.

Boise fugitive arrested near Spirit Lake

A man suspected in a Boise home-invasion robbery was arrested recently near Spirit Lake.

The Kootenai County sheriff's SWAT team took Bryson G. Smith, 27, into custody Wednesday at 28128 N. Highway 41.

A confidential source told detectives Smith was hiding at the address and was wanted in Ada County on a no-bond warrant for a home-invasion robbery April 8. 

Members of the North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force confirmed he was there and obtained a search warrant. Smith was booked into the Kootenai County Jail to await extradition to Boise.

Sheriff's officials were kind enough to send out before and after mug shots of Smith.

Suspect in knife attack jailed in Idaho

A suspect has been identified in a May 1 attack that left a man with stab wounds to his chest and head in the West Garland District.

Fingerprints on a Coors Light can at the scene of the stabbing matched those of Joshua David Fleming, 31, who has been in jail in Kootenai County since May 18.

Fleming is accused of stabbing Eric Stensgar, 29, several times in the upper chest and head. Stensgar was found in alley in the 600 block of West Garland Avenue and treated at a local hospital. He told Spokane police he was drinking Coors Light and Goldschlager schnapps hard liquor when a man asked if he could drink with him.

They shared the alcohol, and Stensgar said his next memory was awaking in the alley with stab wounds. Stensgar underwent surgery at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center for life threatening injuries, including a stab wound that entered his brain, according to court documents.

Prosecutors issued a $125,000 warrant for Fleming's arrest on May 21. By that time, Fleming already had been arrested on a probation violation for a grand theft conviction in Kootenai County. He waived extradition from Spokane May 18 and remains in the Kootenai County Jail.

Spokane police didn't know this when they issued a news release Tuesday calling for tips on his location.

Fleming has at least nine felony convictions in Spokane County beginning in 1996, inlcuding first-degree robbery, attempted second-degree assault, first-degree possession of stolen property, unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance.

Man nets 2nd police chase in 3 weeks

A Spokane man arrested at gunpoint after a police chase three weeks ago was picked up again Tuesday morning after another chase with law enforcement.

 A profusely sweaty Michael S. Wheeler, 38, was taken to a hospital after he told a sheriff's deputy he had eaten an unknown amount of cocaine when he was arrested near Argonne and Bruce roads, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Ryan Truman tried to stop Wheeler after spotting he and his passenger “frantically” moving and reaching under the front seats when he approached their parked Jeep Cherokee just north of Hastings Road about 4:30 a.m.

Truman noted a damaged steering column and a punched ignition with a screwdriver sitting on the vehicle's center console. Dispatch reported the car was stolen, and Truman ordered an already “very agitated” Wheeler and passenger Jamie Burdeau, 22, out of the vehicle, the sheriff's office said.

Wheeler instead put the Jeep in reverse and struck a shed, fence and a “junk car” as he fled, officials say. Truman and other deputies found the Jeep abandoned in the area of 3rd Avenue and Railroad Street in Mead. Burdeau was spotted walking near the vehicle and told deputies Wheeler had run east. She later said she and Wheeler had been waiting for a meth dealer when Truman approached them, the sheriff's office said.

A Spokane police K-9 found Wheeler's gray hooded sweatshirt near the Jeep.  Patrol officers found Wheeler at Argonne and Bruce roads, where he was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle and felony eluding. Burdeau was arrested on a charge of possession of a stolen vehicle.

Wheeler also faces a third-degree assault charge for allegedly striking a security guard at Holy Family Hospital while running from sheriff's deputies. Deputies said Wheeler ran from them after saying “Have you ever been to jail? It sucks,” according to court records. Wheeler was shocked with a Taser as he struggled to get away from the deputies.

Wheeler was arrested May 3 after a high-speed chase with a state wildlife officer in a stolen car while high on methamphetamine, according to court documents. He was released from jail when prosecutors didn't file charges within three days.

Wheeler also was wanted by Crime Stoppers when he rammed a sheriff’s patrol car in December 2010 while successfully eluding a deputy. Read more here.

Okla. fugitive in Spokane prompts probe

Spokane police are investigating why an Oklahoma fugitive ended up here with a large amount of marijuana and cash.

Police on Friday obtained a search warrant for Mitchell R. Green, Jr.'s cellphone in hopes it will lead to what they suspect is a marijuana trafficking ring.

Green, 28, told U.S. Marshals he was a Crips gang member when they arrested him near East 11th Avenue and South Perry Street on April 17, according to police.

Agents here were tracking Green after he escaped from a halfway house in Oklahoma and investigators developed information he was in Spokane.

Spokane police were called to the scene to collect a large bag of marijuana that was found in Green's pants. Agents later found another bag of marijuana in his pants pocket while they were processing him at the office, then found $900 hidden in his sock. Spokane police responded to the federal office to collect the cash and additional marijuana.

Spokane police Detective Devin Presta noted numerous gang-related tattoos on Green and noted the marijuana bag found in his pants was wrapped in a blue bandanna. He said Green refused to identity what sect of Crips he's a member of, but Presta suspects the bandanna may be related to his affiliation.

Presta said Green had never been contacted here prior to April 17 and “had no apparent reason for being in Spokane,” according to the search warrant.

Chronic eluder arrested for eluding police

A Spokane man with a history of fleeing police led a state wildlife officer on a chase in a stolen car while high on methamphetamine recently.

Michael S. Wheeler, 38, remains jailed on stolen car and eluding police chases after he was arrested at gunpoint Thursday after a high-speed chase that began in the area of 36900 Valley Road.

Fish and Wildlife Sgt. Daniel Rahn was in the area when he noticed a 1986 Doge pickup parked in his neighbor's driveway.

Rahn didn't recognize the truck and watched as the driver approached a parked trailer. The driver told Rahn he was looking for copper wire when stopped, but he soon sped way and a chase ensued.

Rahn ended the chase because of public safety concerns, but a sheriff's deputy was able to stop Wheeler at gunpoint on Deer Creek Road near Elk-Chattaroy after Wheeler lost control of the truck while trying to avoid a spike strip.

Wheeler told police he had taken methamphetamine earlier that day, according to court documents. He said he didn't know the truck was stolen. Police say the truck was stolen that day from a home on Sherman Road in Deer Park.

Wheeler had a Department of Corrections warrant for escape. He has several felony convictions that prohibit from possessing weapons, so he could face another felony charge for a rifle found in the truck.

Wheeler was wanted by Crime Stoppers when he rammed a sheriff’s patrol car in December 2010 while successfully eluding a deputy. Read more here.

Reward for tips on licensed theft suspect

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to the arrest of an accused metal thief who was part of a licensed business.

Tristan M. Goiri-Christensen, 26, is wanted on a $20,000 warrant after skipping a pre-trial conference April 27. He was scheduled to begin trial Monday on theft and stolen property charges.

Goiri-Christensen is part of a band of suspected metal thieves who created a Spokane-based business, complete with licenses from the Washington Department of Revenue, to get around state laws designed to discourage theft by making it tougher for individuals to sell stolen metal to scrap yards. The state exempts licensed businesses from the mandatory 10-day waiting period for payments of over $30 on scrap metal sold to recyclers.

Goiri-Christensen and four others are accused of stealing thousands of pounds of power lines from Avista Utilities and selling the copper wire to fuel their drug habits. The stolen metal meant a massive payday in the thousands of dollars. A business license meant it came instantly. And it was easy to obtain. Read more here.

Goiri-Christensen, 6-foot-3 and 320 pounds, last gave an address in the 300 block of East Rockwell Avenue in Spokane.

Anyone with information on his current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Spokane police arrest longtime fugitive

A Crime Stoppers fugitive wanted since February has been arrested.

 John Gibson Dean, 30, was arrested at an apartment complex at 12426 E. Broadway Ave., after police developed information that he'd been staying there.

A witnesses told police Dean and Lisa M. Baxter, 25, stole her Ford Bronco and were planning to drive it to Montana.

Police contacted Baxter and she denied knowing where Dean was, but she was with Dean at the apartment when police arrived there Tuesday.

Baxter was arrested for rendering criminal assistance, and Dean was arrested on warrants for robbery and gun charges.

He faces a new bail-jumping charge after he left jail on $200,000 bond and never returned to court. He was to begin trial in March but didn't show up for a pre-trial conference in February which led to the warrant.

Dean is accused with Jeremy L. Standon of robbing three people of money, jewelry and electronics after being allowed inside the home at 1415 N. Post St. May 9. Standon pleaded guilty earlier this month and is to be sentenced June 13.

Warrant issued for ‘80s ‘mountain man’

This Dec. 18, 1984 file photo shows Don Nichols, right, standing with his son, Dan Nichols, left, as they pled not guilty in court in Virginia City, Mont. Standing with them is attorney, Steve Ungar. (AP Photo/File)

By MATT GOURAS,Associated Press
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — One of the infamous “mountain men” who in the 1980s eluded authorities for five months by living in the wilderness is on the run from the law again — and considered “armed and dangerous.”

The U.S. attorney's office in Montana has filed federal drug and weapons charges against Dan Nichols, who with his father was convicted in kidnaping a world class athlete in 1984, killing a would-be rescuer and hiding in the remote mountains northwest of Yellowstone National Park.

An indictment unsealed Wednesday alleges Nichols and two other men were involved in a statewide marijuana distribution ring that netted nearly $1.8 million. The news comes as his 81-year-old father, Don, comes up for a parole hearing next week.

Federal marshals said they are now looking for the younger Nichols, who was previously wanted in state court for not appearing earlier this year on relatively minor drug charges filed after his arrest at a rock concert. The new federal charges allege a much larger conspiracy.

“He should definitely be considered armed and dangerous,” said Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal for Montana, Rod Ostermiller. “He is obviously someone who hasn't been compliant with law enforcement in the past.”

Ostermiller wouldn't say whether authorities believe Nichols has taken to the woods again. But he warned the public to be wary of the 5-foot-11, 150-pound Nichols.

“I think there is some definite safety issues involved regarding this individual,” the marshal said. “That is just one thing we can't stress enough.”

The original, bizarre crime gripped the state and the nation when the father and son abducted world-class biathlete Kari Swenson in 1984 while she was on a training run in the mountains above the resort town of Big Sky. The elder Nichols was reportedly looking for a wife for his then 19-year-old son.

The so-called mountain men had been living continuously in the woods for a year prior to the abduction, growing hidden makeshift gardens, poaching game and generally staying out of sight.

The scheme quickly fell apart when would-be rescuers stumbled upon the camp. In the melee, Dan Nichols accidentally shot Swenson. An armed standoff ensued, and the elder Nichols gunned down Alan Goldstein.

The Nichols evaded capture by living in the Madison Range, until they surrendered when a Madison County sheriff caught up with them.

Swenson, despite diminished lung capacity from the gunshot wound, went on to win a bronze medal in the world biathlon championships.

The new charges against Nichols include allegations the felon illegally amassed dozens of rifles, assault weapons, pistols, and shotguns while engaged in drug crimes. Christopher Wayne Williams and Christopher Lindsey, two of the five co-founders of the now-shuttered Montana Cannabis statewide medical marijuana operation, are also charged, but they are not on the run.

Drug Enforcement Administration agent Wesley Smith said Thursday at a sentencing of Richard Flor, another Montana Cannabis co-founder, that Nichols worked for Williams at the operation's Helena marijuana nursery overseeing the care of hundreds of pot plants.

Federal agents raided the nursery as part of a crackdown on medical marijuana operations last year, and Smith said agents found a handgun in the camper that Nichols had been living in next to the nursery.

Federal authorities say the trio was involved in an operation that grew and sold marijuana in several Montana cities from 2006 until 2011. This came at a time when many in the state thought they were legally running medical marijuana businesses under a state law.

All of the Montana Cannabis co-owners, who also ran the Montana Caregivers Association, have been indicted or pleaded guilty to federal drug charges.

Wigged felon with gun, drugs charged

A fugitive felon arrested in Spokane with drugs and a gun while wearing a wig and sunglasses has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

James Anthony Stinson, 41, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Stinson was arrested Jan. 16 after a Spokane police officer spotted him driving a blue Ford Explorer while wearing the disguise, according to court documents.

Stinson had an escape warrant from the Washington Department of Corrections. Police arrested him in a motel parking lot at 4301 W. Sunset Blvd., and found methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin in a black case.

Stinson also had a black and silver Taurus 9 mm semi-automatic handgun in the car, police say. He's prohibited from possessing guns because of six felony convictions, all drug related.

Stinson was charged in Spokane County Superior Court with three counts of possession of a controlled substance. He's out of jail on $10,000 bond with trial scheduled for June.

The federal gun charge in U.S. District Court was filed Tuesday. He has not yet been arrested in that case.

Valley police arrest 4 burglary suspects

Police on Friday arrested four men considered to be “well known burglars” responsible for crimes in Spokane Valley, officials said today.

A Spokane Valley night-shift patrol platoon led by Sgt. Don Manning focused on the area of 400 North University Road and the area of 13500 East Rich Road, which police say “have been notorious for criminal activity for some time.”

Arrested were Damian M. Plumley, 22, on warrants for three counts of second-degree theft and one count of first-degree trafficking in stolen property; Steven D.T. Devitt, 42, on a warrant for second-degree theft and vehicle prowling; Christopher Michael Stoddard, 20, on new charges of second-degree theft and first-degree trafficking in stolen property; and Mark William Bush, 37, on a Washington Department of Corrections warrant for failure to comply.

 Bush (pictured) is a repeat offender who was targeted by Crime Stoppers in February even though he already was in DOC custody.

Police recovered a large amount of stolen property during the arrests Friday, which property crimes detectives identified and returned to their owners.

“The return of these items took longer than normal because none of the high value items had been reported stolen,” sheriff's spokesman Deputy Craig Chamberlin said in a news release. “When detectives asked the property owners why they did not report the thefts, the property owners said they had not gotten around to it.”

“Citizens are asked to report any type of theft, suspicious vehicles or persons to either 911 or Crime Check,” Chamberlin continued. “This information is extremely valuable and played a vital role with the multiple arrests made this weekend in Spokane Valley. The Sheriff's Office has devoted extra resources to focus on burglaries in unincorporated Spokane County and the City of Spokane Valley.”

Video questions account of shooting

Watch me talk about the story in the video above with KHQ's Dave Cotton.

A homeowner says his surveillance video brings into question the official account of why law enforcement shot and killed a North Idaho fugitive three weeks ago, though police warn against drawing too many conclusions from the footage because it captures just a portion of the chaotic 20-minute chase and final encounter.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

March 12: Man killed by Post Fall police identified

$250k bond for child abuse suspect

A 22-year-old Spokane man accused of assaulting his infant daughter will remain jailed on $250,000 bond, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Joshua E. Gillis is in the Spokane County Jail after he was arrested in Texas last week by federal marshals at the request of Spokane police.

Gillis is accused of assaulting his daughter in January. He and the girl's mother, Ashley B. Huston, brought the girl to a hospital with multiple skull fractures, a fractured right shoulder and a spiral fracture to her right thigh, police say. They told doctors the girl was anemic.

GIllis is charged with two counts of second-degree child assault.

Fugitive arrested in Center of Universe

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A man who failed to appear in court on charges he caused a disturbance at a Missoula hotel was taken into custody by a bail bond company after a standoff at a Wallace, Idaho, hotel.

Michael Dell Babinski, 42, was booked into the Missoula County jail early Tuesday, the Missoulian (http://bit.ly/HHBR9U) reported.

Chase Investigations owner Kelli Martin told the newspaper her team took Babinski into custody at about 2 a.m. Tuesday at the Wallace Inn. She said he raved about bombs and the federal Department of Homeland Security during the standoff.

Babinski initially was arrested Saturday at the Hilton Garden Inn. He had been kicked out of the Missoula hotel on Thursday for having a dog. He returned on Friday. On Saturday, prosecutors said Babinski was again asked to leave and threatened to “take down” the hotel. Officers said he was carrying several knives, a semiautomatic handgun, a stun gun and pepper spray and had a large dog with him.

Officers who searched Babinski at the jail Saturday reported finding eight hydrocodone tablets and 7 ½ tablets of lorazepam, an anti-anxiety drug.

Babinski was released from jail Sunday after posting bond on $50,000 bail. Justice of the Peace Karen Orzech issued a $100,000 bench warrant Monday when Babinski failed to appear in court on two counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal trespass and carrying concealed weapons.

A records check showed he had four restraining orders in Spokane County, Wash., and Shoshone County, Idaho, according to the affidavit. Two of those orders prohibit him from possessing firearms, it said.

Reward targets property crime couple

Crime Stoppers is targeting a couple accused of stealing more than $40,000 in guns, jewelry and electronics from the wife's mother.

Tiffany N. Russell, alias Thompson, and Kevin C. Russell, both 34, are accused of burglarizing her mother's storage unit at 11018 E. Sprague Ave. and her apartment at 6010 E. Sixth Ave. while her mother was out of town.

Her mother let her stay at her home periodically since she was released from prison about two years ago, according to court documents prepared by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

She said only her daughter and her daughter's husband knew where the stolen firearms, including a sniper rifle, were located, and knew of the jewelry and electronics that turned up missing from the home. The woman learned her daughter sold some of the items at a Spokane Valley pawn shop.  She also found surveillance video at the storage center showing her daughter loading items into her car.

Kevin Russell is charged with second-degree burglary and nine counts of theft of a firearm. Tiffany Russell is charged with second-degree burglary, first-degree theft, three counts of trafficking in stolen property in the first degree and nine counts of theft of a firearm. Prosecutors charged the couple March 23.

Kevin Russell, 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, last gave an address on East 32nd Avenue in Spokane Valley.

Tiffany Russell, 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, last listed her mother's apartment in Spokane Valley - one of the crime scenes - as her address.

Anyone with information on their current locations is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.