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Pic of cop car gas theft leads to arrest

JENKINS, Ky. (AP) — There it was on Facebook for all to see — Michael Baker with a gas can, a siphon hose stuck into a police cruiser in eastern Kentucky and a middle finger raised.

Among those who saw it were Jenkins police, who arrested 20-year-old Baker on Monday and charged him with theft by unlawful taking.

Baker told WYMT-TV ( http://bit.ly/HUTwfV ) in Hazard there wasn't much fuel in the car to siphon and the stunt on Friday was intended as a joke. Baker's girlfriend took the photo and posted it.

Police didn't laugh. Chief Allen Bormes says that if Baker would steal from police, he'd steal from “just about anybody.”

Authorities say they plan to buy lockable gas caps.

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.

Fuel card thieves rack up $5k+ in sales

Police are trying to identify two vehicles driven by thieves who have stolen thousands of dollars worth of fuel since May.

 Someone stole a fuel car from an Environment West vehicle in the 7500 block of North Argonne and paid for gas purchases worth more than $2,000, including one in Adams County, before the card was returned to the vehicle.

 On June 7, someone cut through security fencing at the Central Valley School District, 19300 E. Cataldo Ave., and stole fuel cards from several buses. 

“The thief, and presumably his friends, has racked up more that $5,000 in stolen fuel bills,” Sgt. Dave Reagan said in a news release. “All of the gasoline was stolen from Pacific Pride fuel stations, and most was stolen at the Newman Lake site.” 

Surveillance photos from gas stations show a mid-90s green standard cab Dodge pickup that is lifted and has a silver passenger door and after-market wheels.

Also pictured is a mid-to-late 90's white GMC or Chevrolet Tahoe (possibly a Suburban) that has a roof rack, white taillight covers and a pitbull sticker in the right rear window.

Anyone with information on the owners of the vehicles is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

2 men charged in series of fuel thefts

Two men have been charged with a series of fuel thefts that damaged Spokane-area businesses.

Richard Lee Trower, 38, (pictured) and David A. Sitton, 34, are accused of burglaries at industrial properties between October 2009 and January 2010 Trower is to be arraigned this week on five counts of second-degree burglary for alleged break-ins at Coast Crane, 3920 E. Boone Ave.; Crux, 16707 E. Euclid; Eljay Oil, 16009 E. Euclid; SMK Services, 3830 E. Boone; and Garco Construction, 4114 E. Broadway.

Sitton is charged with two counts of second-degree burglary for the Garco and SMK Services break ins. Both Trower and Sitton are charged with theft of a motor vehicle, second-degree theft and second-degree malicious mischief for allegedly stealing a truck from SMK Services on Oct. 12, 2009.

Trower faces an additional second-degree theft charge for allegedly stealing a fuel tank and 375 gallons of fuel from Coast Crane. Trower reportedly admitted to the burglaries in interviews with Spokane County sheriff's detectives last year.

Prosecutors filed charges this April, and Trower was arrested July 8. He remains in the Spokane County Jail. Sitton is wanted on a felony warrant after he didn't show up for a court hearing this month.

Trower also was arrested after a police chase last year.

Driver loses 100 gals. of fuel in Valley

Police are looking for a driver who lost as much as 100 gallons of diesel fuel on a busy Spokane Valley road this morning.

Fuel began spilling from a vehicle in the southbound lanes of 2400 North Sullivan Road just before 9:25 a.m.

The trail of diesel continued south and into the left turn lane for Euclid Avenue, then about two blocks eastbound on Euclid.

Police believe the driver stopped there to fix the leak but did not report the spill to police “leaving a quarter-mile long mess for officers and firefighters to eliminate,” Sgt. Dave Reagan said in a news release.

Lanes on Sullivan Road were closed while crews tried to clean up the mess.

Sgt. Dale Golman said he doesn't know if the culprit vehicle was a commercial truck or a jerry-rigged vehicle used to steal fuel from construction sites, which has occurred several times recently.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Discarded mail leads to fuel theft arrest

A suspected gas thief tipped off police by discarding her mail in the station trashcan and leaving her identification card with an employee.

Spokane Valley police tracked Lacey Nicole Trottier, 21, to her apartment in the 1800 block of North Hutchinson Road by checking the discarded mail.

She's suspected of stealing $60 in fuel from the Cenex Station, 15504 E. Fourth Ave., on Monday. When police arrived, the station employee said the same driver left her identification card behind while stealing $75 in fuel on Jan. 29.

Cpl. Darin Staley arrested Trottier on two new charges of second-degree theft, as well as driving with license suspended and possession of methamphetamine for a small quantity of meth found in her purse, according to a news release.

Trottier also was booked on a warrant for a 2009 second-degree theft case in which she's accused of stealing $400 from a cash register at TJ Maxx in the Valley mall, where she was employed.

Fuel theft sparks slush-filled police chase

A man suspected of stealing fuel from a Spokane gas station led police from two cities on a lengthy chase on slushy roads Wednesday before ramming a patrol car, officials said.

Police spotted Jacob S. Beck, 33, driving eastbound on Trent Avenue in a 1988 Mercury Cougar after reports of a driver stealing $54 in fuel from a station at 3030 E. Euclid Ave. about 3:40 p.m. Witnesses said Beck drove his car at a customer who tried to stop him, causing a gash on the man’s hand, which led to a robbery charge.

Beck ran a red light at Fancher and Broadway and turned eastbound at Sprague at speeds of 50 mph in the 35 mph zone, police say, then allegedly rammed a patrol car driven by Spokane Valley police Officer Hal Whapeles, causing minor damage.

Police called off the chase because of heavy traffic and dangerous road conditions but soon found the Cougar abandoned at Appleway Chevrolet near Sprague and Dishman Road after 911 received several reports of the car driving recklessly.

Officers found Beck in a vacant lot near Sprague and Vista and booked him into jail on robbery, assault and eluding police charges.

Beck is on probation in Washington and has a non-extraditable burglary warrant out of California. He was a Crime Stoppers fugitive last summer when he was wanted by the Department of Corrections for escape from community custody.

He has previous convictions for vehicle theft, drug possession, burglary, theft, driving while suspended, forgery, making false statements, unlawful possession of firearms, possession of stolen property and probation violations, according to Crime Stoppers.

Anyone with information about Wednesday's incident is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Cash Fry, 2 others arrested in gas theft

Three men suspected of trying to steal fuel from a commercial van were arrested early Tuesday.

Frank Millard Fry, 48; Cash L. Fry, 46; and Douglas Lee Curtis, 48, were jailed on theft charges after Spokane County sheriff’s Deputy Darin Powers drove past Twilight Bedding, 12013 E. Trent, about 2:40 a.m. and saw two sets of feet standing on the other side of a van. A white pickup truck was parked closed by.

Frank Fry pulled a garden hose from the van’s fuel nozzle and jumped in the truck with Curtis. Powers held both men at gunpoint until help arrived. Cash Fry, who was in the driver’s seat of the truck, also was arrested.

Deputies recovered the hose used to steal gas and also recovered two automotive batteries that been removed from a vehicle by cutting the cables, according to a news release.

Meghann: I Want To Pump My Own Gas

Twitter/Facebook/SR buddy Meghann Cuniff mentioned on her blog recently that she’s off on an well-deserved, two-week vacation back to her home country, Oregon. So I wasn’t surprised to see a post from Oregon on her Twitter account that sez pointedly: “At a gas station in Portland. Not being able pump your own gas is ridiculous but “I still love Oregon.” I agree with her bottom line. If I didn’t live in Idaho, I’d probably live in Oregon. Beautiful country. Much closer to the ocean. However, her observation about the gas stations there hit home. I’m not a patient sort. And I don’t like waiting for an attendant at an Oregon station to amble over to pump your gas … or to quit pumping it once the pump shuts off. How about you?

Question: What do you think of the Oregon law that requires attendants at stations pump gas?