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Cash for tips on serial burglary suspects

  Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to the arrest of three suspects in a string of burglaries in North Idaho and Spokane County.

Joseph A. Lynch, 29, (left) and Jesse A. Williamson, 27, (right) of Coeur d'Alene, and Susan N. Burke, (below) alias Susan Church, 50, of Spokane, are wanted for various theft-related charged in Kootenai County District Court.

Kathleen E. Kelly, 29, of Coeur d'Alene, turned herself into police are learning of her fugitive status through media reports, police said today.

Also in custody is Emily A. Lynch, 28, of Coeur d'Alene, as well as Heather D. Yao, alias Heather Perry, 31, Adam C. Ramirez III, 29, and Kasie D. Gordon, 25, all of Post Falls. 

The suspects are believed to be responsible for numerous daytime home burglaries in Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls, Rathdrum, Hayden, Sandpoint and Spokane.

Photos of Lynch, Williamson and Burke will be featured on billboards at no cost to law enforcement thanks to Lamar Outdoor, a national billboard company with an office in Spokane.

Anyone with information on their current locations is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit tips online.

Fugitive since Feb. jailed on $50k bond

A woman who lives as a man and grows a beard as a symbol of her activism for human rights is back in jail after being wanted on a felony warrant since February.

Paula K. Reynolds-Eblacas, 45, alias Joseph Muhammad, was ordered to stay in jail on $50,000 bond after appearing before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael Price Tuesday on a third-degree assault charge.

The charge stems from an incident in July 2009 in which Reynolds-Eblacas allegedly assaulted a Spokane police officer who was trying to transport her to a hospital for a mental evaluation.

The officer “felt the pressure of Paula squeezing her fist and he thrust his hips away from her hand to break free,” according to a probable cause affidavit. “The defendant said, 'I was trying to grab your pant leg and your body got in the way.”

Reynolds-Eblacas' attorney withdrew earlier this month - the third attorney withdrawal since the case began - and she is representing herself. Price set a stay hearing for Dec. 30 to inquire about her competency to stand trial, though she already was ruled competent earlier this year.

Reynolds-Eblacas entered an Alford plea in 2006 to a charge of violating a protection order after a woman said she tried to end a friendship with her but was inundated with phone calls and others contacts.

Suspect named in Spokane man’s murder

Missoula police say a gang member from Washington state is a suspect in the June beating death of a Spokane man.

A nationwide extradition warrant with a $250,000 bond was issued Tuesday for David Sekou Hylton, 39, of Tacoma, Wash.

Hylton (pictured) wanted on suspicion of deliberate homicide in the death of Angelo Lorenzo Fuentes, 41, who traveled to Missoula from Spokane to attend a concert.

A coroner's report said Fuentes died of blunt force trauma to the head. He was found outside the Elks Lodge during a hip-hop show there.

The incident led to a felony warrant being issued for his nephew, Stafone Fuentes, after his unauthorized trip out of the state was publicized because he was arrested at the hospital where his uncle was pronounced dead.

Coincidentally, the concert tour featured rapper John “Lil Danger” Castro, who was arrested for second-degree murder for allegedly shooting another rapper to death at a Spokane hotel Nov. 27.

Stafone Fuentes was at the hotel and involved in the fight that led to the shooting, according to court documents.

Police say Hylton was last known to be in the Tacoma/Spanaway area but has ties to the Missoula area. Anyone with information on Hylton's location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 406-721-4444. Tipsters can remains anonymous and get a reward of up to $1,000.

Fugitive arrested after 8-hour standoff

Kootenai County sheriff's deputies and Coeur d'Alene police spent more than eight hours Sunday resolving a standoff with a man who they say was threatening to kill himself in his mother's home.

Law enforcement responded about 5:30 a.m. Sunday to a call at 317 S. Ross Point Road near Post Falls, after learning that Matthew W. Couture, 44, had barricaded himself in his mother's basement with a butcher's knife.

Following an argument with his mother, Couture reportedly threatened to use the knife on himself. Officers negotiated for about six hours with Couture before he agreed to surrender, said Sgt. Matt Street of the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department.

Couture has a warrant issued in California for a felony probation violation related to a domestic-violence charge, according to a news release.

No injuries occurred during the standoff, Street said.

Report: Murder suspect declined meds

A triple-murder suspect from Montana who was arrested in Spokane Valley will be returned to the Big Sky state as soon as possible to face federal charges, a fedearl judge ruled today.

Sheldon Bernard Chase, 22, faces a mandatory term of life in prison if convicted of murdering his 80-year-old grandmother, Gloria Sarah Goes Ahead Cummins; his cousin, 21-year-old Levon Driftwood; and her boyfriend, 20-year-old Rueben Jefferson.

Authorities say Chase has a history of mental illness and was not taking his medications when he used a rifle to kill the three victims Tuesday, southwest of Lodge Grass on Montana's Crow Reservation, then drove to the Spokane area. Two small children witnessed the killings, authorities say.

He was arrested Wednesday about 4 p.m. during a traffic stop near the Spokane Valley Mall.

Chase appeared before U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno this afternoon in a hearing that was delayed an hour because Chase “felt faint,” court officials said.

Clad in a yellow Spokane County Jail jumper, Chase remained seated during the hearing instead of standing before Imbrogno as is typical. Chase waived all future hearings in Spokane and is to be transported back to Montana shortly.

According to a probable cause affidavit, a 3-year-old, one of two child witnesses, told investigators that Chase and Jefferson were fighting when Chase shot the three victims.

A neighbor who reported the shooting said she saw Chase driving from the home about 12:10 p.m., then went to the home and saw two of the victims.

Chase's mother in North Dakota told FBI agents that Chase took a commemorative gun with him when he left her home on Monday. Investigators found a text message on Driftwood's phone about 20 minutes before Chase was spotted leaving the home Tuesday that indicated he had arrived, according to the affidavit.

Mont. murder suspect arrested in Valley

Law enforcement officers remove a shooting victim's body from a home about nine miles south west of Lodge Grass Tuesday near Montana's Crow Reservation. (AP Photo/The Billings Gazette, James Woodcock)

A 22-year-old man accused of killing three people in Montana was arrested Wednesday near the Spokane Valley Mall.

Sheldon Bernard Chase was taken into custody without incident during a traffic stop about 4 p.m., said Frank Harrill, agent in charge of the Spokane office of the FBI.

“We do not believe there are any other subjects at large,” Harrill said.

Chase is suspected of using a rifle Tuesday to kill his 80-year-old grandmother, Gloria Sarah Goes Ahead Cummins; his cousin, 21-year-old Levon Driftwood; and her boyfriend, 20-year-old Rueben Jefferson.

Read the rest of the story here.

Hoopfest convict wanted in North Idaho

A man involved in a gang-related shooting at Hoopfest is wanted in North Idaho for felony injury to a child.

Marquis D. Johnson, 23, has a $50,000 warrant for his arrest in Kootenia County for allegedly assaulting a 6-year-old girl in Coeur d'Alene on June 25.

Johnson is accused of throwing a salt-and-pepper shaker at the girl, according to court documents. Further details are pending a week-old records request for a report from the Coeur d'Alene Police Department.

Johnson was given an exceptionally low sentence of six months in jail last fall after pleading guilty to second-degree assault in relation to the shooting at Hoopfest.

Johnson was originally charged with about a dozen counts of attempted murder after gunshots injured two girls and grazed a bystander at the annual basketball tournament in downtown Spokane on June 26.

The triggerman, Miguel C. Garcia, is serving a nine-year prison sentence. Johnson had been released from prison just three weeks earlier after serving three years for a shooting in Spokane that didn't injure anyone.

The warrant in Kootenai County was issued Aug. 5.

Anyone with information on Johnson's location is asked to call the sheriff's department at (208) 446-1300.

Woman wanted in drug-binge robbery

Crime Stoppers if offering a reward for tips that lead to the arrest of a woman accused of robbing a disabled man at knife point with her boyfriend last year.

Jeanette E. Menghini, 44, is wanted on a first-degree robbery charge after failing to show up for a court hearing this month. Her trial was to start today, according to court documents.

Menghini was arrested in September with her boyfriend, Ronald J. Schneider, who told police he was on a seven-month drug binge when he broke into a man's room at the Airway Express Motel, 3809 S. Geiger Blvd. and robbed him of cash, prescription drugs and his car at knife point, according to court documents.

Schneider was under investigation for a stolen car ring in Spokane and in Great Falls, Mont., where he resided. He's now serving 29 months in a Washington prison after pleading guilty to second-degree taking a motor vehicle without permission in April.

Menghini, 5-foot-7 and 135 pounds, last gave a home address in the 11900 block of East Broadway Avenue in Spokane Valley, according to Crime Stoppers.

Anyone with information on his current location is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online. Tipsters do not have to give their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

Pro fighter wanted on child rape charge

A competitive mixed-martial arts fighter set to begin trial today on charges that he raped and molested a young girl has a reward being offered for tips that lead to his capture after he didn't show up for court. 

Michael L. Mininger, 30, is wanted on a $25,000 warrant after missing a pre-trail conference Sept. 2 in Spokane County Superior Court, where he was to stand trial this week on two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree child molestation.

Crime Stoppers today announced a reward for tips that lead to his arrest. Mininger is accused of raping a 9-year-old girl over a period of three years.

He was arrested June 11, 2010, but has been out of jail on $10,000 bond since June 17, 2010. Mininger has no criminal convictions.

He's 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds and last gave a home address in the 11900 block of East Mansfield Avenue in Spokane Valley, according to Crime Stoppers.

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

Cop on paid leave in bounty hunter probe

A senior Spokane police officer has been on paid leave for seven months as detectives probe his ties to a self-styled bounty hunter and convicted felon who’s facing kidnapping and burglary charges related to his apprehension techniques.

 Senior Officer Alan D. Edwards is not facing criminal charges, his attorney says, and police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick said the case should be resolved shortly, while declining to discuss details.

Kirkpatrick suspended Edwards from the police force on Jan. 23 amid what she said were possible criminal charges and an internal investigation, which Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said is ongoing. The 21-year police employee continues to receive his $76,886 annual pay as the criminal probe continues.

Read the rest of my story here.

Citizen helps police find fleeing fugitive

A citizen helped officers find a fleeing fugitive early this morning in west Spokane, police said.

Christopher A. Hill, 31, was wanted on suspicion of bank robbery in Pendleton, Ore., and on a $250,000 bail jumping charge related to a meth possession case in Benton County when the Pacific Northwest Violent Crimes Task Force told Spokane patrol units he was in the area about 2 a.m., according to a news release.

Hill drove away from police in the area of U.S. Highway 195 and South Thorpe Road, but an alert citizen who watched the chase from her home called 911 and said she'd seen the man turn his headlights off and turn down Canyon Woods Road.

Hill again fled officers but high-centered his truck on a boulder, police said. Spokane police K-9 Leonidas found Hill about 60 feet from the truck. He was booked into jail on the warrant, as well as a new charge of attempting to elude police and harming a police dog for allegedly punching Leonidas and trying to pry open the dog's mouth, according to court documents.

“This is yet another fine example of Spokane's citizens assisting officers in apprehending a wanted individual,” Officer Teresa Fuller wrote. “Our community is always doing a great job of being that extra set of eyes and ears for us so, “THANK YOU!”“

3-strikes trial skipper gets life in prison

A Spokane man arrested for a shooting after skipping the last part of his robbery and assault trial was sentenced this week to life in prison under Washington's three-strikes law.

A jury convicted Larry A. Powell, 54, of second-degree assault and first-degree robbery in July for an incident at Kmart after he skipped the last part of the trial.

Crime Stopeprs was offering a reward for his capture when he was identified as a suspect in a July 30 Spokane Valley burglary in which shots were fired at a neighbor who tried to stop the thieves.

Powell is described by Crime Stoppers described as an armed career criminal with a 36-year arrest history that includes convictions for second-degree theft, first-degree theft, third-degree theft, second-degree burglary and second-degree theft.

He's in custody at the Spokane County Jail awaiting transport to prison.

Trial skipper arrested after shooting

A Spokane man wanted by Crime Stoppers after skipping the last part of his robbery and assault trial case was arrested recently after shots were fired at a neighbor trying to stop a burglary.

Larry A. Powell, 54, is now awaiting sentencing and arraignment for separate assault and robbery cases after he was arrested last week, accused of stealing property from a home in the 8500 block of East Cataldo Avenue in Spokane Valley, then shooting at a neighbor who tried to stop him.

The neighbor and his wife saw two men at the home on July 30 about 8:25 p.m. and confronted them, then contacted the homeowner who said no one should be at the home, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office

The neighbor followed the men as they left in a white mini-van before the car turned around and someone began firing at him with a handgun, missing him but disabling his vehicle, according to a search warrant filed Monday. The man was able to record the license plate number, which was a registered to a woman who said she'd left the car with Powell when she moved to Michigan two years ago.

The neighbor identified Powell from a photo montage.

The alleged shooting occurred just days after a Spokane County jury convicted Powell of assault and robbery for an incident at Kmart last fall.

Powell didn't show up for the last days of the trial, but court proceeded without him. Crime Stoppers last week had offered a reward for tips that led to his capture.

Powell was booked into jail Thursday.

Tip helps identify fuel theft suspects

Photos of two vehicles suspected in a series of fuel thefts led police to identify three suspects, officials said today.

Richard William Tennant, 24, (pictured) faces 17 felony charges for thefts in Spokane and Adams counties in which $5,000 in fuel was purchased using gas cards stolen from the Central Valley School District and a Spokane Valley company, according to police.
 
Surveillance photos were released last week showing a green Dodge pickup and a white Chevrolet or GMC Suburban prompted a citizen to report the pickup's location to Spokane police. 
 
Police say the truck's owner, Jacob Anthony Lorenzo, 38, tried to disguise the pickup by painting the silver door green and changing its wheels and tires. He faces a single count of first-degree trafficking stolen property, three counts of third-degree theft and one count of possession of stolen property.  
 
Suspect Sasha Stanton, 27, also faces three counts of first-degree trafficking stolen property, three counts of third-degree theft and one count of second-degree possession of stolen property. 
 
Police also located the white SUV, which was searched along with the truck and two homes. Police found evidence linking the suspects to the thefts and are asking for help locating Tennant, who faces four counts of first-degree trafficking stolen property, one count of first-degree theft, five counts of second-degree possession of stolen property, two counts of second-degree burglary and five counts of second-degree vehicle prowling. He also has a warrant in Idaho. Anyone with information on his location should call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
 
Neither Lorenzo or Stanton have been arrested, but their whereabouts are known. 
 
The case was investigated by Spokane County sheriff's Deputy Brian Hirzel.

Drunken fugitive takes out power pole

A suspected drunken driver caused a brief power outage in Spokane Valley this morning after he struck a power pole and three parked cars.

Nathaniel Lewis, 26, was speeding westbound on 8th Avenue when he lost control in the 12900 block about 3:12 a.m. and hit the power pole, then hit a parked Chevy Tahoe before striking two other parked cars in a driveway at 12924 E. 8th Ave., according to the Spokane Valley Police Department

Neighbors reported seeing Lewis trying to escape into a backyard, but a resident told him to return to the car. He did so, police say, but only to awake his passenger, Lucas Remington, 32, who was initially knocked unconscious. Lewis and Remington fled, but police located them a short while later.

Lewis had a felony warrant out of Ellensburg for third-degree assault, and Remington was wanted for possession of drugs with intent to deliver. Both men were treated for minor injuries at the Valley hospital.

Lewis was arrested for drunken driving; a blood sample is expected to take six weeks to process. Both men were booked into jail.

Trip to concert leads to fugitive warrant

UPDATE: Stafone Fuentes was booked into jail Saturday and is due in court today.

A Spokane man is wanted on a felony warrant after his unauthorized trip to a concert in Montana was publicized because his uncle was killed outside the show.

  Stafone Nicholas Fuentes, 26, (right) was awaiting trial on witness tampering charges when he was arrested on misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct charges at the hospital where his uncle, Angelo Lorenzo Fuentes, 41, (left) also of Spokane, was pronounced dead from a traumatic head injury.

Missoula police believe the elder Fuentes was mortally wounded during a fight outside the concert late June 17 at the Missoula Hell Gate Elks Lodge.

Sgt. Travis Welsh of the Missoula Police Department said investigators are seeking witnesses in Fuentes’ death, some of whom may be from Spokane.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

June 20: Spokane man dies of head trauma in Missoula

Woman charged in deadly I-90 crash

A Coeur d'Alene woman who rear-ended another driver on Interstate 90 in December has been charged with vehicular manslaughter.

Lisa Marie Calbick, 33, was seriously injured in the crash that killed Donald Graham, 77, of Rathdrum. Graham was driving a yellow Chevrolet Equinox westbound near milepost 3 when he was struck by Calbick's Kia Optima, according to Idaho State Police.

Graham lost control of the Chevy, which rolled off the right shoulder and landed on its top. He was pronounced dead at Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene.

Calbick was hospitalized in critical condition but has since recovered and is wanted on a $50,000 warrant in Kootenai County District Court.

Anyone with information on her location is asked to call the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department at (208) 446-1300.

Robbery, kidnapping suspect arrested

A fugitive targeted with tear gas in an unsuccessful SWAT team search on Monday was arrested early today in downtown Spokane.

Kenneth J. Kheel, 21, (left) was arrested during a traffic stop by Spokane Sgt. Kurt Vigesaa near Riverside Avenue and Monroe Street just after midnight, police said.

Kheel and Jarred T. Many, 22, are accused robbing two men at gunpoint after they victims arranged to buy a ring from Many at 1124 W. Nora Ave. on June 17.

Many was arrested at the Nora Avenue home Monday buy Spokane police SWAT team members, but Kheel was not inside as police expected.

Now he's in jail awaiting his first appearance in Superior Court today on two counts of first-degree robbery and one count of first-degree kidnapping.

Kheel was released from prison last September after being sentenced in June 2009 to two years in prison with credit for 143 days served for second-degree assault. He had been arrested in January 2009 after off-duty police Sgt. Brad Thoma suffered a minor stab wound during a confrontation with Kheel in downtown Spokane.

Oldtown chop shop has Spokane ties

A suspected chop shop under investigation in Bonner County caught the attention of Spokane County authorities last winter when they heard a car thief used the property to dispose of a vehicle.

Washington State Patrol investigators were helping U.S. Marshals look for a felon at Mr. D's Auto Repair and Salvage Yard on Highway 41 near Oldtown Jan. 5 when they were told that Tracey Oblenness, 45, brought her car to the wrecking yard to have it destroyed because she had switched the car's indication to a stolen car of the same make and model, according to court documents. 

Detectives were told that vehicles were often crushed or burned on the property as a means of disposal.

A resident of the chop shop is identified in a search warrant field in January as Daryl Hollingsworth - a key defense witness in Edgar Steele's murder-for-hire trial . Hollingsworth (left) told investigators he once observed a vehicle being crushed and once saw a nice Acura set on fire.

Wayne Clinton told a Spokane County sheriff's deputy that he towed Oblenness's Acura to the property so it could be destroyed and Oblenness could use its identification for a stolen Acura, according to court documents.

Oblenness has not been charged in relation to a stolen vehicle but pleaded guilty last month to a gross misdemeanor drug charge in Spokane County Superior Court and was given two years probation.

The suspected car theft operation remained in tact until last week, when Bonner County detectives saw a stolen vehicle while looking for fugitives. They executed a search warrant and found several stolen vehicles.

Property owner Dennis Hiebert, 51, was arrested for possession of stolen property. The investigation is ongoing.

Case continues against ‘Whitey’ Bulger

This courtroom sketch depicts James “Whitey” Bulger before U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf during a hearing in a federal courtroom in Boston Tuesday, June 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)

DENISE LAVOIE,AP Legal Affairs Writer
BOSTON (AP) — Federal prosecutors moved Tuesday to dismiss a 1994 racketeering indictment against mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger to focus on a later indictment that charged the newly captured fugitive of participating in 19 murders.

But U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf told prosecutors during a court hearing that dismissal of the indictment is “not automatic” and that he would give Bulger's provisional attorney, Peter Krupp, a day to consult with Bulger to see whether he objects to the dismissal.

The earlier indictment, which charged Bulger with extortion, loan sharking, witness tampering and conspiracy, prompted Bulger to flee Boston just before it was handed up in early 1995. He remained a fugitive until last week, when he was apprehended in Santa Monica, Calif., with his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig.

Krupp told Wolf the decision to drop the first indictment appears to be “forum shopping” on the part of prosecutors, an apparent reference to the fact that Wolf — who has presided in that case since 1995 — would no longer be the judge overseeing the Bulger prosecution. U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns is assigned to the 1999 indictment, which includes the murder charges.

Prosecutors declined to comment on allegations of “forum shopping.” Spokeswoman Christina DiIorio-Sterling said, “Our submission speaks for itself.”

Wolf is the judge who in the 1990s held hearings that exposed the Boston FBI's corrupt relationship with Bulger and his cohort, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi.

Both gangsters were FBI informants who provided the agency with information on the Mafia, their main rivals. Former FBI agent John Connolly Jr. was convicted of racketeering and obstruction of justice for protecting Bulger and Flemmi from prosecution.

Read the rest of the story by clicking the link below.

Federally led force arrests 174 fugitives

Two Spokane women wanted on federal counterfeit money charges, an Oregon resident sought on a strangulation warrant and a New Mexico fugitive working at a mixed martial arts center in Kettle Falls: Those are among the 174 suspects throughout Eastern Washington arrested this week in a sweep conducted by the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force.

The task force, which started last year and includes Washington, Alaska and Oregon, works with law enforcement to help track fugitives wanted on felony warrants.

Local agencies can submit names of fugitives they need off the streets and contribute an officer to assist in the investigation, said U.S. Marshal Bob Doty, task force supervisor.

“The problem is a lot of them don’t think of us until weeks after they have a fugitive,” Doty said.

The task force organized six teams for the three-day sweep to help raise awareness about the federally funded fugitive-apprehension service.

Of the 174 suspects arrested, 18 were in Spokane County, including Brittney R. Hearn, 24, and Robin Knuttgen, 51, who were indicted by a grand jury on counterfeit money charges.

Other arrests occurred in the Tri-Cities and Yakima regions, and in Stevens and Pend Oreille counties, among other places.

The majority of the arrests were on county warrants, Doty said.

Charges included escape, bail jumping, theft, drugs, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

Manhunt continues for ex-militia leader

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Authorities say they believe a former militia man is still alive nearly two weeks after he fired at sheriff's deputies and then fled into the western Montana woods.

The Missoula County Sheriff's Department says authorities were working to rule out that 47-year-old David Burgert was injured or had harmed himself.

More than 40 officers and two cadaver dogs participated in the search on Thursday but turned up no sign of him.

A department statement issued today says officers searched between U.S. Highway 12 and Interstate 90, but found no evidence that Burgert is still in the immediate area. Nobody was injured in the June 12 shooting.

Burgert was the leader of a militia group accused of plotting to assassinate judges and law enforcement officers in Flathead County a decade ago. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Burgert as an associate of Alaska militia leader Francis Schaeffer Cox, who is in jail on federal charges accusing him of plotting to kill law enforcement officials.

Cox, 27, was the featured speaker at a meeting of extremist groups at the Post Falls Greyhound Park in December 2009.

Fugitive’s police chase is 2nd this year

Spokane County sheriff's deputies arrest Kevin L. Hodgson after a freeway chase Wednesday. (SRPhoto/Colin Mulvany)

A man who already served jail time this year for eluding police was arrested at gunpoint Thursday following a high-speed freeway chase.

Kevin Lyle Hodgson, 38, fled police at the Hico at East Sprague Avenue and North Mullan Road before ditching his car and running across Interstate 90 into Spalding Auto Parts, where police and a K-9 tracked him down.

“The defendant did not make much of a statement except to note that he had been stupid,” deputies wrote in an affidavit.

Hodgson's ex-girlfriend called police to report he'd been harassing her, she said he was about ready to stop for gas at the Hico, had a handgun and would potentially ram any police vehicles that tried to stop him, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. Hodgson ran from deputies at Hico and jumped into a Honda Civic at a nearby car wash as the owner was vacuuming it. The Civic was found crashed at 11021 E. Augusta.

Hodgson has warrants in District and Municipal courts and was sentenced in March to 43 days in jail for a police chase in February.

In that case, Hodgson fled police during a traffic stop in north Spokane and was shocked with a Taser.

Hodgson returned to jail Thursday on charges of theft of a motor vehicle, second-degree robbery, second-degree assault, attempting to elude police, obstructing a public officer and second-degree driving with a suspended license. He's due in Superior Court this afternoon.

Boston mob boss hid in plain sight

Police and FBI surround the apartment building in Santa Monica, Calif., where fugitive crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger and his longtime companion Catherine Greig were arrested Wednesday.

By CHRISTINA HOAG and THOMAS WATKINS, Associated Press
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — As the FBI chased leads on two continents, Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger spent nearly all of his 16 years on the lam in this quiet seaside city, passing himself off as just another elderly retiree, albeit one who kept a .357 Magnum and more than 100 rounds of ammunition in his modest apartment.

 Bulger — the FBI's most-wanted man and a feared underworld figure linked to 19 murders — was captured Wednesday after one of the biggest manhunts in U.S. history. His undoing may have been his impeccably groomed girlfriend.

Earlier this week, after years of frustration, the FBI put out a series of daytime TV announcements with photos of Bulger's blond live-in companion, Catherine Greig. The announcements pointed out that Greig was known to frequent beauty salons and have her teeth cleaned once a month.

Two days later, the campaign produced a tip that led agents to the two-bedroom apartment three blocks from the Pacific Ocean where Bulger and Greig lived, authorities said. The FBI would not give any details about the tip.

Bulger and Greig are pictured at their arraignment Thursday in a sketch by Bill Robles.

Bulger, the 81-year-old boss of South Boston's vicious Winter Hill Gang — a man who authorities say would not hesitate to shoot someone between the eyes — was lured outside the building and captured without resistance. Greig, 60, was also arrested.

 Neighbors were stunned to learn they had been living in the same building as the man who was the model for Jack Nicholson's ruthless crime boss in the 2006 Martin Scorsese movie “The Departed.”

Read the rest of the AP story by clicking the link below.

Fugitive fights cops after injecting heroin

A fugitive who's both an alleged assault victim and an alleged assault suspect was arrested just hours after Crime Stoppers offered a reward for tips no his capture Wednesday.

Kenneth Brian Barton, 34, (left) was in the bushes near North Cannon Street and West Gardner Avenue injecting himself with heroin when police tried to arrest him on several warrants this afternoon, according to KHQ.

Barton fought with the two officers, prompting several more to arrive for back up. “Barton is a pretty big guy and put up a pretty good fight,” said Spokane police Sgt. Joe Peterson told KHQ. “He had loaded syringes in his pocket; they were uncapped as officers were fighting him.”

No serious injuries were reported. Barton is charged with second-degree assault, third-degree theft and two counts of third-degree assault for allegedly fighting with security at J.C. Penny's at the Spokane Valley Mall after being detained for shoplifting a pair of Nike sneakers on May 16. He  also was being sought on a material witness warrant for an assault trial set to begin next month.

Barton was allegedly assaulted by Tony N. Hairston (pictured right) on Oct. 27 at 2821 N. Cincinnati Ave. Co-defendant Jarreau S. “Sweaty” Squetimkin pleaded guilty to riot in February and was sentenced to nine months in jail.

Hairston is in jail awaiting trial, which is set to begin July 25; a $100,000 warrant to secure Barton's presence for testimony was issued June 8.

Barton has a 19-year criminal history that includes convictions for first-degree burglary, second-degree vehicle theft, delivery of controlled substance, violating a no contact order, retail theft with extenuating circumstances, third-degree driving while license suspended, and domestic violence assault.

Hunt continues for paranoid survivalist

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LOLO, Mont. (AP) — A practiced survivalist and former militia leader whose mother said he slipped into paranoia after repeated run-ins with Montana law enforcement eluded authorities searching for him Tuesday in a remote mountain range near the Idaho border.

 As the hunt for 47-year-old ex-convict David Burgert carried into its third day, court documents and interviews with law enforcement officials painted a picture of a well-armed “bully” who became convinced a decade ago that authorities were out to get him.

Burgert is being sought for attempted homicide and probation violations after allegedly firing a handgun at two Missoula County sheriff's deputies during a confrontation Sunday about 25 miles west of Missoula.

As the leader of the since-disbanded “Project 7” militia in northwest Montana, Burgert was convicted in 2003 of illegally possessing a machine gun and sentenced to federal prison. He was released last year.

Prior to his arrest in that case, Burgert eluded authorities by staging his death along the Flathead River and then retreating to a secluded forest encampment near Kalispell. He was caught about a month later following an hours-long, armed standoff in the forest, authorities said.

His latest escapade bears similar hallmarks: Caches of weapons, food and gear believed to be Burgert's have been found in the woods in the search area, and authorities said he appears to have planned the attack on the deputies.

No one was hurt in Sunday's exchange of gunfire.

In a 2007 letter to the federal judge overseeing his illegal weapons case, Burgert's mother, Phyllis Richards, pleaded for a reduction in Burgert's prison sentence based partly on his history of mental health problems. Richards said her son suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and became paranoid after he came under the watch of authorities.

“He was so scared for his own life he was doing all he could just (to) go to the mountains to live and to survive,” Richards wrote of her son's activities leading up to his arrest. “I saw fear in Dave I never saw before. … From that time on he was obsessed with things going on in the world and was so very paranoid.”

Read the rest of the Associated Press story by clicking the link below.

Fugitive grabs officer’s rifle during fight

A Spokane fugitive was arrested Monday after he knocked over a parking meter with his car while fleeing bail bondsmen, then tried to grab a firearm during a struggle with a Spokane police officer.

Christopher Cleo McCracken, 38, (pictured in 2005) sped away from a parking lot at 907 W. 3rd Ave., Monday afternoon after the bondsmen tried to arrest him on felony warrants, Spokane police said today.

McCracken backed over a parking barrier and a sidewalk, knocking down a parking meter on 3rd Avenue that was left in the middle of the street, police said.

A woman who had a restraining order against McCracken “alluded” to him possibly using a handgun to avoid arrests, so a team of nighttime patrol officers that tracks fugitives and crime trends located him about 5 p.m. near 3500 S. Marshall Road.

Officer Sean Wheeler pursued McCracken as he ran into a wooded area and over a barb wire fence. McCracken grabbed the barrel of the rifle, but Wheeler was able to subdue McCracken and arrest him. In a news release, police emphasized that neither McCracken nor the officers were shot to death.

“This is a prime example of how a possibly deadly encounter resulted in an arrest with relatively minor injuries,” Officer Jennifer DeRuwe wrote. “Officers entered the situation knowing McCracken was a danger to the community, possibly armed and had an extensive criminal history related to drug abuse and violence.”

Manhunt for ex-militia leader scaled back

FBI agents, in a helicopter from the Montana National Guard, land at the Lumberjack Saloon west of Lolo, Mont., Monday to join in a manhunt for David Burgert. (AP Photos/Missoulian, Linda Thompson)

LOLO, Mont. (AP) — Authorities are scaling back the ground hunt for a former militia leader accused of firing a gun at Missoula County deputies Sunday before disappearing into the woods near the Idaho border.

Missoula County Undersheriff Mike Dominick says law enforcement agents continue to patrol a 50-square-mile area centered on the Lolo National Forest in the search for ex-convict David Burgert.  But Dominick says Burgert could've escaped the area in a 1987 Jeep Wagoneer that Burgert owns but authorities have been unable to find.

 The 47-year-old Burgert is the former leader of a Flathead County militia group that was accused of plotting to assassinate local officials and overthrow the federal government.

He and some other members eventually pleaded guilty to federal weapons charges. Burgert was released from prison in March after serving eight years.

Burgert, who previously told police “he wasn't going to be taken down like last time,” may have planned Sunday's attack, Dominick told The Associated Press on Monday.

Authorities found ammunition packed inside the Jeep's engine compartment and in another vehicle associated with Burgert, as well as two stolen rifles and a magazine of handgun ammunition on the ground near where he fled, Dominick said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Burgert as an associate of Alaska militia leader Francis Schaeffer Cox, who is in jail on federal charges accusing him of plotting to kill law enforcement officials. Cox, 27, was the featured speaker at a meeting of extremist groups at the Post Falls Greyhound Park in December 2009.

Meth suspect nabbed after chase in Idaho

A convicted Spokane methamphetamine maker awaiting trial in federal court was arrested during a police chase in North Idaho today.

William Troy Tomblin, 40, was on a motorcycle when the U.S. Marshals Service began pursuing him in the area Wilbur Avenue in Coeur d'Alene.

The chase continued to the area of North Ramsey Road and Wyoming Avenue in Hayden about 3:15 p.m. before Tomblin drove his motorcycle into tree near Lancaster Avenue and Hayden Lake Road and ran into the woods on foot.

The Kootenai County Sheriff's Department and Idaho State Police helped set up a perimeter, and Tomblin was located before a K-9 arrived.

Tomblin was transported to the Spokane County Jail on a federal warrant related to a January grand jury indictment charging him with possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of pure methamphetamine. He's scheduled to go on trial in August with a co-defendant, Wheeler Joseph Paavola, 29.

Paavola, who has at least eight felony methamphetamine convictions dating back to 2001, has been in jail since February, but Tomblin had been allowed out pending trial.

Tomblin has previous drug and stolen property convictions and was sentenced to 39 months in state prison in 2006 for manufacturing methamphetamine.

Woman falsley claims to be fugitive

A passenger who lied about her identity during a traffic stop Monday provided the name of another woman who had a warrant for her arrest.

Michael Lynn Polello, 37, provided her real name after a records check revealed the warrant for the other name, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office said today.

Polello didn't have any warrants, but she did have a small baggie of methamphetamine in her purse, deputies said.

Deputies encountered Polello after stopping a Toyota 4-Runner for making an improper turn near West Wellesley Avenue and North Wall Street in Spokane about 8 p.m.

The driver, 45-year-old Rodney Harold Bruhjell of Spokane, received a warning but allowed the deputies to search his SUV, which turned up a marijuana pipe and led deputies to ask Polello for her name.

Polello was booked into jail for possession of methamphetamine and making false statements.  Bruhjell was cited and released for possession of marijuana. Polello was ordered released on her own recognizance after appearing in court this afternoon.