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Second man accused of selling heroin arrested

Spokane police arrested 55-year-old Ernie Hern this week, the second of a pair accused of selling heroin out of a residence in the East Central neighborhood through March of last year.

Hern faces multiple possession and sale of drug charges after police used a confidential informant to buy heroin from him in January 2013, according to court documents. The informant allegedly twice bought heroin at home in the 200 block of Fiske Street, once from Hern and a second time a month later from Timothy Price, 36.

When authorities raided the house in March 2013, Price was there, but Hern wasn't. Price was arrested and scheduled to be arraigned, but never showed up, according to court records. He was taken back into custody last month and has pleaded not guilty to a drug trafficking charge.

Both Hern and Price have criminal histories that include past drug charges. Prosecutors are asking Hern be held on $1,000 bond in the new charge.

Where’s the heroin? Oops. Wrong house.

Two suspected serial robbers apparently picked the wrong target back in late May, Spokane police say.

Flint Fire Herrmann, 35, and David Fredrick Smith, 41, are charged with first-degree robbery for an invasion May 29 at a home in the 1900 block of West 26th Ave. Already in jail, they appeared in Spokane County Superior Court on the new charges Tuesday.

A victim told police one of the men “was yelling at the other male telling him they had the wrong people and they should leave,” according to court documents. The other man tried to steal a portable video game player “only breaking it instead,” police wrote

A resident said she awoke about 11:30 p.m. to a masked man standing next to her bed “pointing a large gun in her face.” The woman said the man called her “Chandra” and demanded heroin, hen got very upset when she told him he had the wrong person. The woman feared two other men in the home had been killed , and that she was about to be killed, police say.

Two nights later, Herrmann and Smith successfully robbed a home in the 4400 block of East 46th Avenue of drugs and cash. They're also suspected in a robbery that same night at a home on West Spofford Avenue. Smith also is believed to have shot Robert Ruth during a robbery on West Princeton Avenue on May 29. Ruth is accused of helping cop shooter Charles Wallace.

Police arrested Smith in June and searched his home in the 2600 block of West Dell Avenue, where they recovered bandanas, a ski mask, 9 mm gun and a .380 Revolver.

Herrmann was arrested July 16.
  

Wallace contested Edwards’ ‘02 search

Ten years before Charles Wallace shot two Spokane County sheriff's deputies, he had an encounter with a now former Spokane police officer who's the subject of a criminal probe regarding his search and seizure procedures.

Wallace contested the search of his car and home conducted by Officer Alan Edwards on May 13, 2002. His public defender asked a judge to throw out the evidence on the grounds it was obtained illegally. 

But Superior Court Judge Neal Rielly, now retired, denied the motion to suppress, and Wallace ended up pleading guilty and going to prison for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver cocaine and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver heroin, as well as second-degree escape for escaping from Geiger Corrections Center.

When still fighting the charges, Wallace signed an affidavit supporting his lawyer's efforts to suppress the evidence obtained by Edwards, who was fired last February for lying to an on-duty officer to obtain contact information for a woman he'd met at a bar.

Edwards was suspended for two weeks last fall after being on paid leave for seven months amidst a criminal probe into his use of an unlicensed bounty hunter to catch fugitives. That probe was recently reopened, and Edwards remains a target.

In the affidavit filed Nov. 27, 2002, Wallace stated he was driving his 1988 Toyota MR2 with a valid driver's license, valid registration and valid proof of insurance in the car when he was stopped about 11:30 p.m. “for no apparent reason.”

Wallace said his power window was not working, so he opened the door and started to get out of the car until Edwards ordered him back inside.

Wallace said he held his license, registration and insurance through the open window when Edwards said to Officer Greg Thieschafer “That's him. Take him out,” according to the affidavit.  Thieschafer handcuffed Wallace and placed him in the back of a patrol car while Edwards started searching through the car. Edwards located heroin in the trunk.

Police also found heroin, cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia at Wallace's home in the 1200 block of West Alice Avenue. Wallace's wife at the time, Jessica Wallace, signed an affidavit contesting the legality of that search, too.

Jessica Wallace said she was home with her two-week-old baby and her younger brother when police officers, including Edwards, arrived and told her her husband had been arrested. One of the three officers said they needed to search the home.

Jessica Wallace said she was told police would get a search warrant for the home if she didn't let them in.

“In my mind, I felt I had no choice other then to let them enter and search my home,” according to the affidavit. “I was extremely frightened fearful and did not know what to do. As I result, I let them into the house.” The officers found something, then returned with a search warrant for a locked bedroom, according to the affidavit.

Reilly denied the motion to suppress in December 2002. Charles Wallace pleaded guilty in January 2003.

Past coverage:

July 5: Wallace's wrist, risk factors at hearing

June 25: Wallace had been to drug rehab before

51-time felon accused in car prowlings

A 51-time felon who was told by a judge 10 years ago that “the system's had enough of you” is back in jail for property crimes police suspect are related to his severe heroin addiction.

 Brian Lee Danner, 40, was stopped last week in the area of North Cedar Street and Northwest Boulevard while driving a green 1995 Jeep Cherokee belonging to another longtime felon, Johnie Leo Vick, Jr., 42.

Spokane police Officers Nick Geren and Brian Eckersley, along with Sgt. Joe Peterson, were looking for the Jeep after learning of vehicle prowlings in Spokane involving it and a 1984 Chevy Blazer also registered to Vick.

Vick was arrested the same day as Danner, June 26, when police located him working on the Blazer at Auto Zone, 2526 N. Division St. Danner had heroin on him when he was arrested, police say. Also arrested was Rabecca Hearn, 26, who police say received stolen purses from Danner.

Police believe Danner often smashes car windows to steal purses and other valuables. Danner told police he'd been prowling vehicles to support “a severe substance abuse problem,” according to court documents. Vick also told police he's a heroin addict who prowls cars to support his habit.

Vick, who has a neck tattoo that says “Ladies Love Outlaws,” could not be booked into jail because of medical reasons; police sent charging recommendations to prosecutors and expect him to be summonsed to court once charges are filed.

Danner remains in jail on $10,000 bail for charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of stolen property.

Police searched Vick's vehicles on Monday and seized suspected stolen identifications and credit cards.

Danner's remarkable criminal history, which includes at least 41 adult felonies and 10 juvenile felonies, includes 25 convictions from 2002 for second-degree possession of stolen property. He was sentenced to two years in prison by Superior Court Judge Ellen Kalama Clark.

His co-defendant, Shelly M. Ose, received nine years in prison when Judge Greg Sypolt rejected a plea bargain. Their criminal records were similar. (Ose's sentence was reduced on appeal to about four years.)

At the time, Clark said she saw no reason to give Danner, who was returned to prison for the fourth time, an exceptional sentence. She did give him a warning, however: “I'm going to remember you, Mr. Danner. The system's had enough of you,'' she said.

Her warning apparently had little effect on Danner.

He went to prison again in 2006 for property crimes in Stevens County, then returned for his sixth stay in 2010 for - again - property crimes.

Clark isn't likely to see Danner this time around; she's assigned to juvenile court but does sometimes handle adult felonies.

Heroin bust today nets Wallace’s friend

A heroin bust today at a Spokane home involves associates of cop shooter Charles Robert Wallace.

Julie Ann Lewis-Rice, 38, was arrested during a SWAT team search at a home in the 900 block of East Bismark Avenue this morning.

She was one of eight suspects named in a federal investigation into a heroin distribution ring involving Wallace, who killed himself Tuesday after shooting two sheriff's deputies, but prosecutors moved to dismiss her charges on May 15.

She was booked into jail on heroin delivery charges about 1:30 p.m. today. The raid came after a confidential informant bought heroin from a woman who obtained it from the home June 14.

Spokane police drug detectives seized police scanners, $777 in cash, heroin, loaded syringes and other drug paraphernalia from the home during a search that began at 10:31 a.m.

Sex offender arrested after car chase

A sex offender sought by Crime Stoppers was arrested Thursday after leading troopers on a chase in the West Plains area.

Phillip John Motyka, 45, pulled into a parking lot but just circled through and exited back on state Route 2 after Washington State Patrol Trooper Chad Kindler tried to stop him for driving without a front license plate.

Trooper Tom Shirey joined in the pursuit and followed Motyka to another parking lot and attempted to stop the car with a PIT maneuver after Motyka struck his patrol car, according to WSP.

Motyka exited the car with his hands up, then drove to the ground and was arrested without further incident.

Motyka had methamphetamine, heroin and morphine on him, according to WSP. He was arrested on drug charges, as well as attempt to elude, hit and run, and driving while suspended.

He had warrants out for his arrest, including for failing to register as a sex offender. Motyka was convicted of third-degree rape in 1990. He's a level 1 sex offender, which is the classification considered least likely to reoffend.

Wallace’s co-defendant skips rehab, too

A co-defendant in the heroin trafficking case involving cop shooter Charles Wallace also left a drug rehab center after being released from jail.

Gary Erwin Douglass, 57, had second thoughts after leaving the center on Wednesday, so he contacted his lawyer and turned himself in at the federal courthouse within a few hours, said Bob Doty, supervisory agent with the U.S Marshals.

Douglass is now in the Spokane County Jail without bond. U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno allowed him to leave jail to go to rehab, just as she did with Wallace.

Douglass has a felony conviction for forgery from the late 1990s - hardly the extensive criminal history of Wallace, who shot himself to death Tuesday after shooting two sheriff's deputies.

Home-invasion suspect bragged to others

A Spokane man arrested for a May 31 home-invasion robbery had reportedly been bragging about his crimes, including to a woman who herself was a home-invasion victim.

David F. Smith, 40, remains jailed on $150,000 bond after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court Monday on charges of first-degree robbery and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

Police arrested him Friday at an apartment in the 800 block of West Cora Avenue after a tipster told police Smith had been bragging about robbing people, including the home in the 1600 block of West Spofford Avenue on May 31.

The tipster told police she helped Smith get heroin and that he regularly carries a black handgun and “waves it around stating if people won't give him stuff, he will take what he wants,” according to court documents.

The apartment where Smith was arrested had been targeted in an invasion robbery on June 10 or June 11, police say.

The woman said Smith took her 1989 black Chevy Cavalier prior to the May 31 robbery. Victims in that robbery identified Smith as one of the gunmen.

A second suspect has not yet been arrested.

Investigators believe Smith may be involved in other home invasions, but they don’t believe he was involved in takeover-style robberies at a McDonald’s at 4647 S. Regal St. on May 25 and a Zip Trip at 1523 W. 10th Ave. on June 8.

Those robberies involved four men in ski masks with guns.

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

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.

Duo arrested for mall-related crimes

A woman and man arrested at the Spokane Valley Mall with stolen credit cards led to an investigation into a series of property crimes.

Tabitha Dawn Creel, 30, and John Andrew Howard, 29, are accused of buying gift cards with stolen credit cards, then trying to return the gift cards for cash.

Howard and Creel was arrested at the mall May 30 after allegedly trying to use a stolen credit card. Creel told deputies she's a heroin addict, and police found heroin in her purse as well as a digital scale.

She said she often pawned stolen items for Howard that included guitars, laptops and an air compressor.

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office burglary task force completed an investigation into the duo Tuesday that calls for them to be charged with 26 felonies, including vehicle prowling, possession of stolen property, money laundering, trafficking in stolen property, possession of a deadly weapon, possession of heroin, identity theft and forgery.
  

1 pound of heroin seized in Spokane

About a pound of heroin was found in a home near the Northtown Mall in Spokane today during a SWAT team raid that also seized assault rifles, motorcycles and $10,000.

 Daniel Edward Inwood, 53, was arrested at his home at 559 E. Crown Ave. after drug detectives and the Spokane police SWAT team arrived about 8:20 a.m.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for the home after a confidential informant bought heroin from the home on Tuesday.

Detectives were alerted to the home by an anonymous tipster who called Crime Check May 1 to complain about drug activity at the home.

A police sergeant told KHQ -TV that the heroin seized in the home was the most he'd seen in one place during his 28 years in law enforcement.

Police also found two assault rifles, a revolver, a shotgun, a pistol, gun sights and ammunition. Four of the motorcycles seized were Harley Davidsons from 1960, 1985, 1998 and 2007. Police also seized a 2004 Chopper, according to the search warrant.

Inwood has 12 felony convictions, including six for drug crimes. He walked away while on work release from Geiger Corrections Center at the Interstate Fairgrounds in 2003, which earned him a Budnick Award from Spokesman-Review columnist Doug Clark.

Cops: Driver says he forgot about heroin

An open side door on a Ford Aerostar van that was leaving a motel near West Sunset Boulevard led a sheriff's deputy to arrest the driver on a heroin charge Monday.

Steven Keith Willard, 48, replied “ya” when Deputy Mark Smoldt asked him if he'd forgotten about the heroin Smoldt found in his van, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office said today.

Smoldt said Willard allowed him to search his van after he stopped him as he left Motel 6 in the area of 4300 West Burch Road about 7:30 a.m. Willard said he forgot to close the van door. He also said he didn't have a driver's license, according to the sheriff's office.

Smoldt confirmed Willard's license was suspended and that he had a warrant for driving on a suspended license.Smoldt found the heroin in a box of Camel cigarettes inside a book bag. He also found a glass pipe.

Willard was booked into jail on the driving warrant and a new felony charge of possession of heroin.
  

Bevy of drugs found in felon’s truck

A longtime Spokane felon who fought with police in a Browne's Addition grocery store parking lot last week had about three ounces of heroin in his vehicle, police said today.

Stephen Patrick Link, 46, pleaded not guilty today in Spokane County Superior Court to possession of methamphetamine, attempt to elude a police vehicle and two counts of third-degree assault for the May 21 incident with Sgt. Kurt Vigesaa and Officer Ron Van Tassel at Rosauers, 1800 W. 2nd Ave.

Police are requesting prosecutors charge Link with six additional drug felonies after a search of his Ford Ranger on Friday revealed the heroin, valued at $2,400, marijuana packaged for sale and four prescription drugs packaged for sale, as well as a scale and baggies.

Police also found two syringes loaded with suspected heroin.  Those drugs were found in addition to methamphetamine, more than $7,000 and 35 suspected stolen gift cards that were found on the ground next to Link the night of his arrest.

Police began pursuing Link after a homeowner in the 4800 block of North Oak Street reported a man sitting in a truck in front of his home smoking drugs. Vigesaa attempted to stop Link near North Ash Street and West Grace Avenue, but he fled and crossed the Maple Street Bridge into downtown.

Police used a PIT maneuver to stop the truck, and Link exited the vehicle and fought with Vigesaa, who said he nearly lost consciousness and didn't know what hit him after he was attacked by Link, according to court documents. Vigesaa was treated at a hospital for cut eye and a broken blood vessel. (Police released a photo of the injury today)

Link also kicked and punched Van Tassel and broke his watch, police say Backup officers arrived and Link was shocked with a Taser and taken to the ground before being handcuffed. (View a photo from the scene here.) He was taken to a hospital before being booked into jail.

Link is well known to drug detectives “who have worked previous cases involving him,” according to a news release by police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe.

Vigesaa and Van Tassel have returned to work, DeRuwe said.

“This situation illustrates not only the dangers of police work, but how officers work together to effectively apprehend and remove a criminal suspect from the streets of Spokane.”

Link remains in the Spokane County Jail.

Drugs, guns seized near Valley school

Sheriff's investigators arrested a suspected methamphetamine dealer this week after a month's long investigation that yielded not only drugs but three guns.

His Spokane Valley home's backyard is connected to the playground of Trentwood Elementary School.

Gang and drug detectives obtained search warrants for the Eric D. Rangel's home, vehicle and person after a confidential informant bought methamphetamine from Rangel several times.

Police arrested Rangel, 26, Wednesday at East Eighth Avenue and South Carnahan Road in Spokane Valley and seized his car. He had methamphetamine and $3,400 on him, as well as two .9 mm pistols and additional meth in the car.

Detectives searched his home Thursday in the 4900 block of North Calvin Road and seized more meth, as well as heroin, hydrocodone, marijuana, a.12 gauge shotgun and .9 mm ammunition.

Rangel told detectives he sells meth in the Valley, according to a news release by Deputy Craig Chamberlin, spokesman for the Sheriff's Office.

He also admitted to leaving a stolen firearm in a motel room where he'd briefly stayed. Deputies had recently recovered the firearm, which Rangel said he'd obtained in exchange for meth.

Rangel has felony convictions that prohibit him from possessing weapons.

2 arrested in Garland District SWAT raid

Investigators seized stolen property and drugs and arrested two men today while serving a search warrant at a home in the West Garland District.

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office Burglary Task Force and Investigative Task Force developed information that stolen property and drugs were being trafficked out of a home in the 400 block of West Kiernan Avenue after a “lengthy investigation,” according to a news release.

A SWAT team helped secure the home.

Nathan Carter, 29 was arrested for second-degree possession of stolen property, first-degree trafficking in stolen property and possession of heroin.

Jeffrey Jennings, 32, was arrested for possession of meth and heroin and second-degree possession of stolen property, as well as a warrant for drunken driving.

Seized stolen property includes electrical musical instruments, multiple laptop computers, overhead projectors and other electronic components. Some of the items were matched to theft reports through serial numbers, but many will need additional follow up by investigators to identify.
  

8 Spokanites charged in heroin ring

Eight Spokane residents face federal charges for a heroin distribution ring that authorities allege supplied at least 100 grams of the drug.

The charges in U.S. District Court allege the group distributed heroin in Spokane from last April to this February.

Authorities sealed an affidavit supporting the charges out of concerns for the safety of a confidential informant, according to court documents.

Further details on the case were not available, but arrested in the last two weeks have been:  Gary Erwin Douglass, 57; Charles R. Wallace, 41; Samuel William Wright, 36; Julie A. Rice-Lewis, 38; and James Clayton Lindsay, 57.

Frisco Ayala, 32, Chad Benefield, age unavailable, and Brian L. Sellers, 35, also are charged.

Sellers was arrested with 84 grams of heroin last May after a road rage incident on U.S. Highway 395.
  

Stolen property seized. Is it yours?

All photos of the property are available on the Sheriff's Office website or Facebook page.

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office is trying to identify the owners of suspected stolen property seized Tuesday after a resident reported suspicious activity north of Spokane Valley.

Officials found the items, which include silverware, jewelry and medical cards, in a car that Curtis McKelvey, 28, was driving when sheriff's Deputy James Ebel stopped him for driving with expired tabs near Liberty and Argonne roads about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, sheriff's spokesman Deputy Craig Chamberlin said today.

Ebel was looking for the vehicle after a neighbor in the area of 7900 East Gunning Drive in the Bigelow Gulch reported two suspicious men who'd walked into a backyard after backing a vehicle into a driveway.

McKelvey told Ebel he and his friend were in the area looking for work, Chamberlin said. He later said he was a heroin addict who needed money to buy more.

He allowed members of the sheriff's office burglary task force to search his car, where they located the suspected stolen property, along with bolt cutters, gloves and shaved car keys.

McKelvey was arrested on a felony warrant out of Adams County.

Photos of the property are available on the Sheriff's Office website or Facebook page. Victims who can identify their belongings should call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233 with the number o their theft report. You must provide proof of ownership to get your items back.

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.

Fugitive arrested for alleged ring heist

A property crime suspect sought for weeks by Crime Stoppers and Spokane police was arrested Friday after stealing an expensive ring from Fred Meyer, officers say.

Taylor Aleck Contos, 29, was a passenger in a black truck matching the description of the vehicle used in he theft when sheriff's deputies stopped it on Highway 395.

An employee at Fred Meyer at 12100 N. Division St., identified Contos as the man who was looking at rings and left with a Kathy Ireland 1 Karat white gold anniversary ring valued at nearly $4,000.

Deputies recovered the ring from Contos' right shoe after he confessed to stealing it, according to court documents.

Contos had been wanted on six felony property crime cases since he left the Pioneer Center East drug treatment center on Feb. 20.

He was to begin trial this month on charges related to alleged thefts at stores last summer, as well as methamphetamine, heroin and unlawful issuance of bank checks charges.

Now he's in jail on those charges and a new charge of second-degree theft.

Driver in crash that hurt boy arraigned

This post has been updated.

A man who police say tried to ditch his drug stash after striking a 12-year-old boy with his car was to plead not guilty to four felony charges Tuesday, but a judge found no probable cause and prosecutors haven't refiled charges.

Brandon Lee Maganas, 30, remains jailed after his would-be arraignment in Spokane County Superior Court. The case remains under investigation and he has a Department of Corrections probation hold.

Maganas was driving a 1995 Ford pickup when he struck the boy March 12 in a crosswalk at East Mission Avenue at North Magnolia Street as the boy headed to Stevens Elementary School for his job as a morning crossing guard, according to Spokane police. The boy was taken to a hospital with broken bones.

Witnesses told police Maganas dropped a bag nearby that contained marijuana, glass pipes, methamphetamine, heroin and prescription pills.

Maganas also had a stolen handgun and a shotgun in the truck. He's prohibited from possessing firearms because of felony convictions, including a drug conviction in May 2011.

Cops seek prolific property crime suspect

Spokane police are asking for help finding a prolific property crime suspect wanted on six felony cases.

Taylor Aleck Contos, 29, left the Pioneer Center East drug treatment center on Feb. 20 and has not been located since, according to court documents. A no-bail warrant seeks his immediate arrest.

Contos was to begin trial this month on charges related to alleged thefts at stores last summer, as well as methamphetamine, heroin and unlawful issuance of bank checks charges.

A co-defendant, Kristofer J. Stairs, 29, pleaded guilty in December and was sentenced to six months in jail with credit for 131 days served. He was arrested on a new felony drug charge Monday.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help arrest Contos, who is 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds and last gave an address in the 1500 block of South Lincoln Street in Spokane.

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

Man’s keen eye nabs burglary suspect

A homeowner interrupted a burglary Wednesday afternoon and provided such a thorough description of the man that police were able to arrest a suspect about an hour later

The victim was at his home in the 1700 block of East Illinois Avenue about 2 p.m. when he heard someone trying to get in the front door. He chased the would-be burglary away and provided not only a through description of him to officers but also the license plate number of the car in which he fled, according to the Spokane Police Department.

Officer Ken Applewhaite spotted the car about an hour alter and contacted the driver, Robert Monreal Hoguin, 40, who matched the description of the culprit. The homeowner identified Hoguin as the man who tried to break into his home.

Police say they found heroin in Hoguin's coat. He was booked into jail on charges of attempted residential burglary and possession of a controlled substance.

Hoguin was arrested for car theft Feb. 3, but he was released when prosecutors did not file charges within 72 hours, according to court records.

Spokane thieves target Bogart, Newman

Six stolen portraits of old movie stars led to a Spokane woman's arrest on drug and burglary charges Monday.

A resident in the 3600 block of East 21st Avenue arrived home about 8:40 a.m. to find a silver Toyota parked in his driveway, according to Spokane police. A man walked out of his garage and got into the Toyota, which was driven by a woman.

Missing from the garage were framed portraits of Clint Eastwood, Humphrey Bogart, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Robert Redford and Errol Flynn valued at $500.

Police located the Toyota about 30 minutes later at 2502 E. Hartson Ave.

Suspect Loyalee A. Elton, 41, got in the car and started to drive, but she was stopped and arrested on suspicion of burglary near East 6th Avenue and South Cook Street. Police say she had $900 in her bra and a baggie with methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin inside, as well as prescription pills. The burglary victim identified her as the driver of the Toyota.

Police searched the Hartson Avenue home but didn't find the pictures. Elton told police she didn't know what happened to them.

Felon ineligible for Kootenai Co. sheriff

A candidate for Kootenai County sheriff who shot a man in downtown Coeur d'Alene in 2009 and later pleaded guilty to a felony heroin charge is not eligible for the position, officials say.

 Adam Mathis Johnson, 27, cannot hold office because he's on probation for two years after pleading guilty to a felony controlled substance charge, Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said Thursday.

Johnson will get his rights restored once he completed a two-year probation term. Until then, he's also restricted from carrying firearms.

Johnson was arrested on drug charges in Post Falls in April.  He was arrested on an attempted murder charge in December 2009 after  a shooting in downtown Coeur d’Alene that a grand jury ruled was self defense. Johnson's victim is suing his own civil lawyer for malpractice.

Johnson was featured in The Spokesman-Review a weekend before the shooting in a story about the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.. He was also featured in 2007 in a story about his business, Convertec.

SWAT raid nets meth, heroin, 5 arrests

Members of the Spokane Police Department prepare for a drug raid at a home in the 2800 block of East Fourth Avenue on Wednesday. (SPDphotos)

Drug detectives and the Spokane police SWAT team raided a home in southeast Spokane Wednesday night after citizen complaints led to an investigation.

 Police arrested one man and four women and seized heroin and methamphetamine from the home at 2804 E. 4th Ave.

Beverly Lynn Flanagan, 50 (pictured in 2005); Kathleen A. Copeland, 38; Chelsea R. Haine, 23; Marcella R. Walther, 34; and David Andrew Hoitink, 45, are in jail on drug possession charges.

East Central Neighborhood Resource Officer Dan Strassenberg learned of the home from citizens who complained to the neighborhood COPS shop of short-term visitors, increased burglaries and vehicle prowlings and conversations about drugs.

Detectives conducted undercover drug purchases and obtained a search warrant.

Flanagan told police she is a heroin user who had used the day before and had a residue amount in her upstairs bedroom, according to court documents. (Flanagan was sought in 2005 in connection with the drug overdose death of a 22-year-old man. She later pleaded guilty to delivery of a controlled substance – methadone and was sentenced to eight months in jail.)

Flanagan also told police her co-defendants were in an upstaris bedroom injecting heroin. Police arrested Copeland, Haine, Walther and Hoitink there and found loaded syringes and other drug paraphernalia in the room.

Police called the case a great example of police and citizens working together. There are 12 COPS chops and 11 neighborhood resource officers in Spokane.

“The job of the NRO is to follow up on quality of life issues in nuisance properties in their neighborhoods,” according to a news release by Officer Dan Waters, spokesman for the Spokane Police Department. “One part of the NROs' job is to follow up on complaints brought into the shops from Spokane residents.  Any time a resident brings a problem into a COPS Shop, a communications form is filled out and an NRO WILL read the complaint.  As with anything SPD does, the complaints are prioritized and looked into.  This has been an integral part of how SPD is able to work with folks to improve quality of life issues in our neighborhoods.”

Couple charged in armed robbery spree

A couple accused of robbing a video game store with a pellet gun in January has been charged with five other gunpoint robberies.

Merle A. Andrew Jr., 36, and his girlfriend, suspected getaway driver Nicole N. Stearns, 29, (pictured) are accused of robbing an elderly man Nov. 13 after going to the man's home on West Four Mound Road and claiming Andrew had car trouble.

 Andrew told police he was familiar with the man because the man helped him get his car out of a ditch a couple years ago, police say. He said he used the stolen money to buy heroin.

Police beleive Andrew and Stearns also robbed Village Center Cinemas in Wandermere at 12622 N. Division St. on Dec. 2.

The couple also is accused of robbing a movie theater in Airway Heights Nov. 21, according to court documents.

They were arrested for that robbery Jan. 17, after they were already jailed for the holdup at GameStop in Airway Heights, which occurred just after Andrew stole a pellet gun from Wal-Mart.

Andrew also is accused of robbing the GameStop at 410 E. Holland Road on Nov. 26.

He's also believed to have tried to rob Ace Cash Express, 3515 N. Division St., on Nov. 29 and the Howard Johnson, 3033 N. Division, on Nov. 30.

Stearns and Andrew were charged Monday with four counts of first-degree robbery and one count of attempted first-degree robbery.

Suspended driver arrested after chase

A driver with a suspended license who fled a traffic stop in his 2006 Ford Mustang was arrested on a bevy of charges late Sunday, officials said today.

David B. Middleton, 44, stopped his black Mustang near East Sprague Avenue and North Farr Road about 9:13 p.m. and reached toward the passenger's console as if he was complying with orders to show his documentation, but he suddenly drove off at a high rate of speed, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Russ Olson joined Corporal Dave Ellis in the pursuit, which they ended near the 8800 block of Sprague as Middleton's exceeded 100 mph in the 35 mph zone, according to a news release.

Deputy Jason Karnitz spotted Middleton turn north into a parking lot of on Sprague, and he and Olson pinned Middleton's Mustang with their patrol cars as Middleton accelerated toward Karntiz, the sheriff's office said. Middleton resisted arrest and “received a small abrasion” when the deputies took him to the ground, according to the release.

Deputies say a bag from Middleton's Mustang was found on the ground about five feet from the passenger's door. It contained plastic baggies, glass pipes commonly used to smoke illegal narcotics, scales, a pellet gun and paperwork with Middleton’s name on it.

Middleton was booked into jail on felony charges of eluding police, second-degree assault, possession of meth with intent to deliver and possession of heroin. He also faces misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana, obstructing a police officer, resisting arrest and third-degree driving while suspended.

Man Tasered over $150 heroin debt

A Spokane woman forced her way into a man's home and shocked him with a Taser over a $150 heroin debt early Wednesday, police say.

Faith M. Lee, 39, was arrested on a first-degree burglary charge with Roger Larry Blair, 53, after a resident at 2922 W. Hartson Ave., Micah W. Kaluzny, said they shoved their way into his apartment. Lee shocked Kaluzny with a Taser and stole his cellphone.

Spokane police saw red marks on Kaluzny's stomach that were consistent with a Taser.

Officers located Lee and Blair at an apartment at 2232 E. 1st Ave.  Police found a scale and heroin in the apartment, as well as Kaluzny's cell phone. Blair, who was wanted on a felony warrant, told police he accompanied Lee to collect a drug debt and “act as muscle” to make sure she didn't get hurt, according to court documents.

Both suspects remain in jail after appearing in Superior Court Wednesday afternoon. Blair also faces a drug possession charge.
  

Drug unit shortens dealer’s report time

 A methamphetamine dealer ordered to report to jail by last Sunday arrived early thanks to the Spokane Police Department's drug unit.

 Gerald A. Oglesbee, 42, had been ordered Jan. 3 to report to jail by last weekend to begin a 45-month prison sentence for four drug convictions.

Drug detectives arrested him on new drug charges Jan. 11 while searching his home in the 2200 block of East Pacific Avenue.

Oglesbee was arrested in December 2010 and last May after detectives on both occasions found meth at a home in the 1700 block of East 1st Avenue.

Police allege he was selling heroin while out of jail awaiing resolution of those cases - a confidential informant bought the drug from him using an “unwitting individual” twice in November, according to court documents.

Detectives also followed Oglesbee in December from the Pacific Avenue address to a home in he 2200 block of East Boone Avenue, where they had arrested a woman on heroin charges three weeks earlier. Police say he stayed at the Boone Avenue home a short while - consistent with a drug deal.

Oglesbee was to be arraigned on the new heroin charge today, but prosecutors have not yet filed charges.

He remains in the Spokane County Jail waiting transport to prison. He has 10 previous felony convictions and four as a juvenile, as well as at least 17 misdemeanor convictions.

Suspect ID’d in ice cream shop robbery

A gunpoint robbery at a Spokane ice cream shop in the middle of winter has been solved nearly a year after the crime, prosecutors allege.

Michael W. Robison, 24, was arraigned this week on a first-degree robbery charge for the Jan. 9 hold-up at Basin Robbins, 1230 S. Grand Blvd.

The robbery seeking money from ice cream sales occurred as Spokane was hit with arctic temperatures.

Robison's ex-girlfriend, Breanne M. Snyder, 25, told police it only netted $75, according to court documents. Snyder talked to Spokane police after an unrelated arrest in October and said she'd driven Robison, who she said had a black BB gun, to the Baskin Robbins and picked him a few minutes later. She said he told her he robbed the store and had gotten $75, documents say.

Snyder said she and Robison were addicted to OxyContin and heroin and were stealing to support their habit.
Two off-duty firefighters, Scott Coldiron and Darrin Coldiron, were eating at a nearby restaurant and followed the robber. They told police he got into a white Toyota driven by a woman. Robison owns a white 1998 Toyota Tacoma.

Robison pleaded not guilty to the armed robbery charge on Wednesday. He is not in jail.