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Dump truck joy ride strikes power lines

Police say a man stole a dump truck and took it on a drunken joy ride that destroyed light poles and power lines in the city of Colville.

Robert Gene Bankston Hartman, 28, told officers he didn't mean to knock down the lines when he stole the dump truck from a construction site and drove it through town. He said he'd had about 14 beers when police confronted him about 9:45 p.m. on July 23, but later told police he'd actually been drinking vodka.

Police had heard residents were trapped in their homes at South Wynne Street and West Columbia Avenue because of down power lines. They soon realized Hartman and the stolen dump truck were to blame. Hartman abandoned the truck at 1st Street and Railroad Street and ran, but an officer blocked his path with his police car.

About 1,400 people lost power for about two hours because of the melee. The area extended from Highway 395 at Pingston Creek to just south of Colville, from Valley Westside just east of Colville High School, police said.

One witness told police that Hartman was laughing while he was striking the power lines.

Hartman's blood alcohol level registered at .226 and .220. The legal limit for driving is .08.

Hartman is charged with first-degree malicious mischief, second-degree taking a motor vehicle without permission and drunken driving.

Killer in hotel trashing left prison in ‘11

A convicted killer accused of trashing a Spokane Valley motel while celebrating he and his wife's anniversary was released from prison just 15 months ago.

Danial Caleb Peters, 38, murdered Melissa Mae Wageman, 40, on  Dec. 22, 1995, after smoking crack cocaine. He told police he didn't member beating the woman to death with 4-foot pipe but awoke to find her bloody body nearby.

The circumstances are similar to what Peters' public defender, Mike Elston, said apparently happened Tuesday night at the Pheasant Hill Inn, 12415 E. Mission Ave., in Spokane Valley.

Peters “claims a drug-educed paranoid episode” led to him destroying the room he and his wife, Danielle Lea Wozniak, 27, returned to celebrate their one-year anniversary, Elston said Thursday at Peters' appearance in Spokane County Superior Court.

Wozniak told police Peters destroyed the room after they used methamphetamine.

“I want everybody to know that I'm very sorry for the drug use that I did,” Wozniak said in court Thursday.

Peters told police “that he felt people were after him” and broke a water sprinkler in an attempt to get help, according to court documents.

He said Wozniak destroyed other items like a mirrors, lamps, air conditioner and phone, but Wozniak said it was Peters. Police responded about 6 a.m. and say the duo caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to the hotel, which had recently been renovated.

Water damage from the sprinklers means only 28 of the hotel’s 104 rooms usable. Peters and Wozniak were booked into jail on a felony charge of first-degree malicious mischief. They married in March, Wozniak said.

Wozniak's criminal history includes a single misdemeanor conviction two years ago. Judge Annette Plese ordered her to stay in jail unless she posts $2,500 bond.

Plese set Peters' bond at $5,000 and told him she had “really serious concerns about your criminal history.”

Peters said he has a “very good job” at a construction company that was set up through a church.
The couple was staying with Peters' mother, according to court testimony, but she told court officials they are no longer allowed there.

Peters was sentenced to 17 years in prison in February 1996, but his conviction and scores of others were overturned in 2004 because the Washington Supreme Court ruled the second-degree murder law was defective. He was re-sentenced in 2005.

Wageman met up with Peters while celebrating her 40th birthday at the Happy Time Tavern, 3506 N. Division St. She was killed at a nearby home where Peters had been staying with his his older gay lover after smoking marijuana and crack cocaine. Peters then used his lover's truck to take Wageman’s body to a friend’s house in Stevens County. Upon arrival, the friend handed Peters a phone so he could turn himself in.

Peters didn't deny killing Wageman but said he didn't remember doing so. Wageman was a single mother who was raising a son who, at the time, was an honor student and musician at Shadle Park High School.

Peters finished his sentence at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla in January 2011 and still is completing his two-year probation term, according to the Washington Department of Corrections.
  

Graffiti suspect caught blue-handed

A man suspected of spray panting graffiti on more than 30 locations in downtown Spokane was arrested Tuesday. 

Brad Ruble, 28, was booked into jail for malicious mischief after Neighborhood Resource Officer Tim Ottmar arrested him downtown, according to the Spokane Police Department.

Ruble's fingers were blue when police contacted him - the same color of the paint used to put hearts on the locations.

Another suspected graffiti tagger, Lance Perkins, 25, was arrested in March for allegedly spray painting '57' on numerous locations.

57 refers to Perkins' initials 'LP' on a cellphone keypad, according to court documents.

Booze bottles lead to burglary arrests

Empty liquor bottles in the yard of a home that's typically immaculate led to the arrest of two Spokane residents on burglary charges last week, officials said today.

Ashley C. Spencer, 24, and her boyfriend, Zachary T. Harris, 23, had been staying in one of the burglarized homes, which belonged to a relative of Spencer, without permission when Pend Oreille County sheriff's deputies contacted them Friday.

Deputies were investigating burglaries at two vacation homes in the area of South Shore Road near Diamond Lake when they heard a burglary alarm at a nearby residence and found another home that bad been burglarized, according to the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies began canvassing the neighborhood and noticed the liquor bottles and clothes in the yard of the normally well-kept home. Spencer and Harris were arrested, and deputies seized items from the burglaries at a family member's home.

They face residential burglary and malicious mischief charges. Harris also faces a marijuana possession charge.
  

Tips sought on coffee shop vandal

 The Spokane County Sheriff's Office is asking for help identifying two men involved in the vandalism of a Spokane Valley coffee shop.

Surveillance video shows two men walk in front of the Whistle Shop coffee stand in the 16900 block of East Sprague Avenue on April 2.

One of the men threw a large rock through a window, which smashed not only the window but destroyed a granita machine inside the coffee stand.

View the video here.

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

Cops: Man catches car prowler in act

A Spokane man stopped a car prowler in action early Tuesday and held him until deputies arrived, police say.

Coty M. Gillespie, 20, is suspected of breaking into several vehicles in the area of 7400 N. Pittsburg St., where he was arrested after a resident spotted him prowling his neighbor's car about 3:30 a.m.

Craig Browne, 37, heard the sound of breaking glass from inside his home and found Gillespie in the driver’s seat of his neighbor's Nissan SUV. His wife called police.

Spokane County sheriff's deputies tracked shoe prints from the SUV to 11 other vehicles that had broken windows.  They also found cans of beer in Gillespie's bag that matched beer found in one of the prowled vehicles. The bag also contained broken glass, according to court documents.

Gillespie was booked into jail on one count of second-degree malicious mischief and 12 counts of vehicle prowling.

Skinhead accused of damaging jail door

A skinhead jailed on a federal gun charge could be charged with an additional felony for damaging a jail door. 

James Daniel Bacon, 23, allegedly slammed the door to a jail day room backwards against a concrete wall so hard that the middle and bottom hinge bolts broke from the concrete.

Bacon refused to stop and was forcefully removed from the room by the jail's crisis response team, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office said. He was placed in a restraint chair, where he told a jail deputy that “he had nothing to say other than to ask what charges he now faces,” according to a news release.

The room will be out of service for about two weeks as the door frame is replaced.

Bacon could be charged with felony malicious mischief, depending on how much the repair costs.

Bacon says he is a member of the Valhalla-Bound Skinhead movement, which was founded by Keegan Van Tuyl.

He recently was convicted of misdemeanor assault for punching a man charged with producing child pornography.

He's been in jail since Dec. 7 after running from Spokane police with a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun. He's charged in U.S. District Court with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Authorities believe Bacon is trying to draw attention to himself.

He told The Spokesman-Review in a jailhouse letter that he had a speech planned at his bench trial for the assault, but no one from the newspaper went. He also sent the newspaper a copy of the speech he read, but that was ignored, too.

Police dog busts 3 burglary suspects

A Spokane police dog helped his handler arrest three burglary suspects late Monday.

Arlyanne M. Ellicott, 21, fought with K-9 Maximus before Officer Paul Gorman arrested her on suspicion of burglary in the 5000 block of North Lacey Street, police said today.

Gorman and Officer Michael Russo were responding to a report of a burglary in progress at 11:13 p.m. when they saw a broken window at the vacant home, then saw a man throw a furnace motor out a window. 

Ellicott fled the home and tried to scale a six-foot fence before Maximus caught up with her, police said.

Gorman noticed a large knife discarded on the basement stairs and called for others in the home to exit. He released Maximus when there was no response, police said.

The dog found suspect Bryant T. Graham, 38, hiding in the basement, then on a second trip found Harry D. Lashbrook, 47, hiding in the attic under insulation.

Ellicott, Graham and Lashbrook were treated at a hospital for dog bites before being booked into the Spokane County Jail on charges of residential burglary and first-degree malicious mischief, where they remain on $10,000 bond.

In a news release, Sgt. Kevin King said the case “illustrates how quick and effective police K-9s are.”

“Police K-9s can perform a search quicker, more thoroughly and more safely than their human counterparts,” King wrote.

It's been a busy few days for Maximus, who's pictured with Gorman.

On Saturday, he tracked a domestic violence suspect for two blocks, leading to the man's arrest.

Sheriff’s deputy fired for bad behavior

A Spokane County sheriff’s deputy was fired recently after multiple investigations into allegations of criminal misconduct and poor work performance revealed a pattern of bad behavior.

“If you’re a law enforcement officer, you shouldn’t be committing crimes,” said Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.

The latest internal investigation of former Deputy Travis Smith’s behavior began last year after Smith stuck a knife into someone’s seat while searching their vehicle.

He had initiated a routine traffic stop and, after finding some marijuana, obtained a search warrant for the vehicle and seized it. A search the next day turned up brass knuckles with a three- to four-inch knife blade attached and a bandanna with a swastika on it.

Read the rest of Chelsea Bannach's story here.

Snowy footprints lead to fleeing suspect

A teenager already targeted by Crime Stoppers was arrested Wednesday night after a Spokane County sheriff's deputy followed his footprints through snowy north Spokane County woods. 

Anthony Deshon Fuerte, 18, was reported to have broken an acquaintance's car window and threatened to kill him while wielding a wooden club when Deputy Robert Brooke stopped him in an SUV at Highway 2 and Eloika Lake Road.

Fuerte jumped out of the SUV and ran into the woods as Brooke yelled at him that he was under arrest “and knew that he would head for his grandmother's address in Riverside,” according to a news release by Sgt. Dave Reagan, Spokane County Sheriff's Office spokesman.

Brooke and Deputy Gavin Pratt followed Fuerte's footprints through deep snow and arrested him just south of Elk-to-Highway Road.

Fuerte, nicknamed “Frosty the Felon” in the news release, was wanted on theft and malicious mischief charges from Juvenile Court when Crime Stoppers issued a reward for his capture on Tuesday “after North Spokane County patrol deputies complained about his ongoing criminal activities in their areas of responsibility,” Reagan wrote.

Fuerte is due in Superior Court today on new charges of harassment - threats to kill, third-degree malicious mischief and resisting arrest.

Valley crime spree lands man back in jail

A young man sentenced last month for property crimes is back in jail, accused of a car-prowling and window-breaking spree in Spokane Valley. 

The suspect, Chad A. Radden, 20, was spotted skateboarding away from Northwest Tire and Automotive, 324 N. Pines Road, as a business alarm sounded just before 1 a.m. Friday.

One witness said she saw him in the area of Main and Pines the same time she heard broken glass - police found him with a Game Boy stolen from a 2005 Nissan Murano in the 12500 block of East Main, according to court records.

Radden also is accused of smashing seven windows on a GMC bus parked at Raggedy Ann and Andy Child Care, 12504 E. Main. Police also believe he broke windows at Instyle Hair and Skin Car Studio and H & R Block, 321 N. Pines.

Surveillance video at Holiday Gas Station, 411 N. Pines, shows a man fitting Radden’s description trying to break out a window with a baseball bat, police said. Sheriff’s deputies who arrested Radden said he appeared intoxicatied. He remains in Spokane County Jail on $10,000 bond, charged with two counts of second-degree malicious mischief, two counts of third-degree malicious mischief, and single counts of car prowling, third-degree theft and minor in possession of alcohol by consumption.

Records show Radden was given two years probation and credited for 16 days served in jail after pleading guilty to second-degree burglary last month. He’s also on probation for a drunken driving charge in North Idaho and for second-degree vehicle prowling and hit-and-run attended vehicle convictions in Spokane County.

Pellet gun shootings, vandalism on the rise

A rash of vandalism in Spokane has involved people wielding BB and pellet guns, and police say they’re taking the problem seriously.

 From about Aug. 18 through the end of the month, the Spokane Police Department saw a surge in cases of malicious mischief – property damage in which the vandal does not enter a home or business. During an average week, police see 40 to 50 incidents of malicious mischief; in the last couple of weeks in August, there were more than 100 incidents per week, and 70 percent or more were caused by BB or pellet guns, said Tom Michaud, a crime analyst for the police department.

Read Asia Hege’s full story here.

Flight attendant’s exit draws charges, fans

NEW YORK (AP) — No fed-up worker has ever said “I’ve had it” quite like Steven Slater.

Prosecutors say the JetBlue flight attendant flipped out over a fight with an agitated traveler Monday, cursing over the intercom before grabbing some beer from the plane’s galley and making a grand exit down the emergency slide at Kennedy Airport.

He has been charged with felonies but elevated to folk-hero status by thousands who shrugged off allegations that Slater endangered others and praised him for his take-this-job-and-shove-it moment.

Slater, whose father was an airline pilot, wore a slight smile Tuesday as he was led into a state court in Queens to be arraigned on charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing, counts that carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.

The judge set his bail at $2,500.

Hours later, Slater exited a Bronx lockup after posting bail. Stephen Morello, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Correction, didn’t have details on who posted bail.

“It seems like something here has resonated with a few people. And that’s kinda neat,” Slater told reporters as he left the Vernon C. Bain Center before being whisked away in a car.

Slater, a 38-year-old airline veteran who lives steps from the Queens beach a few miles from the airport, had been flying long enough to see much of the gleam of the air travel experience tarnished by frayed nerves, rising fees, plummeting airline profits and packed cabins.

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

Cops arrest ‘Megazord’ tag suspect, again

Police rearrested an alleged graffiti artist this week on felony charges after a judge allowed him to leave jail on misdemeanor counts of malicious mischief.

Zakk M. Holder, 21, was ordered held in Spokane County Jail on $5,000 bail after appearing before Superior Court Judge Michael Price Thursday on second-degree burglary and malicious mischief charges.

His public defender, Steven Reich, said the charges are for the same graffiti allegations Holder for which Holder was already arrested Monday.

“I think the police were upset that he was released,” Reich said.

Police say Holder prides himself on tagging “Megazord” on downtown buildings and is suspected in a string of graffiti tags. They say he’s caused thousands of dollars in damage over the last four years.

This week, downtown employees spotted Holder tagging the Cathedral Plaza Apartments, then damaging a soap dispenser in a bathroom at Riverfront Park, where he’d been banned from going for a year.  He’s also suspected of tagging a Spokesman-Review building at 1023 W. Riverside Ave.

Holder told police his nickname is Megazord but denied tagging graffiti, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Police say Holder’s cell phone’s wall paper was picture of a Megazord tag.

Police ask anyone who feels they’ve been victimized to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Man accused of ‘Megazord’ graffiti spree

A 21-year-old man police say prides himself on tagging “Megazord” on downtown buildings is suspected of a string of graffiti tags, Spokane police announced Tuesday.

Officer Shaney Redmon is looking for people who think they have been victimized by alleged graffiti artist Zakk M. Holder.

Holder was arrested Monday after 5 p.m. on a misdemeanor malicious mischief, but police believe he’s responsible for thousands of dollars worth of damage to downtown businesses over the last four years. 

“He concentrates on buildings, structures, dumpsters, windows, any piece of property located in the downtown corridor,” according to a news release. “Holder spray paints “Megazord” or “OSN” or “MZ” in different variations.”

Anyone who thinks they may have been victimized by Holder is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Lawyer: Court mishap led to fugitive status

A man wanted by Crime Stoppers since December was released from jail on his own recognizance after a judge said notification of his arraignment had been mailed to California instead of his Spokane address.

Charles Willy Jackson, 24, is accused of shooting out the back window of a Hummer during a confrontation in in a parking lot across the street from Club Uno, 515 W. Sprague Ave., early Nov. 22. He’s charged with second-degree assault, third-degree malicious mischief and possession of a controlled substance (cocaine.)

A second suspect, Cedric E. Burton, is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder for allegedly trying to run over two men, Bradley Hollibaugh and Jacob Schreiber, just before the shooting.

A warrant was issued for Jackson’s arrest after he didn’t show up for an arraignment in December. But Jackson didn’t know he’d been charged, said his public defender, Ed Carroll, in court Tuesday.

Jackson turned himself in as soon as he realized there was a warrant, Carroll said. Jackson’s girlfriend is pregnant and he doesn’t plan on leaving Spokane, where he’s been since his arrest.

“Everyone thought” he’d gone to California, Carroll said. Prosecutors asked for $25,000 bond, but Judge Ellen Kalama Clark released Jackson on his own recognizance after noting that his arraignment notice had been sent to California instead of his Spokane address.

His standard release conditions prohibit him from contacting Burton, who remains in jail after being arrested in Los Angeles May 4. He was back in court Monday on a new harassment charge and a new warrant for a 2008 robbery case and got $50,000 bail for each charge. The robbery charge stems from when Burton allegedly attacked a woman and stole her purse inside 6128 N. Wiscomb on April 3, 2008.

Burton’s public defender, Mark Hannibal, said the warrant was filed after a judge rejected a $1.5 million bail request from prosecutors.

“It looks like, your honor, they were grumpy at the court at Mr. Burton’s expense,” Hannibal said.

Court upholds ‘road rage’ sentencing

By Kevin Graman

The state Court of Appeals let stand the sentencing condition imposed on a Spokane motorist who assaulted a bicyclist during a road rage incident two years ago – that he keep his anger in check.

When a jury convicted Dylan T. Anstrom, 32, of second-degree malicious mischief and fourth-degree assault last year, Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen gave him two years’ probation, provided that he had no further road rage incidents.

Anstrom appealed, saying the condition violated his due process rights. This week, the Court of Appeals for Division III refused to review his appeal because he could not show that “he has been harmed by the condition in any way.”

In July 2008, Anstrom was driving near the Centennial Trail when he drove up behind two bicyclists and started honking his horn before speeding past them, nearly hitting one of them.

When Anstrom stopped at a traffic light one of the bicyclists rode up and told Anstrom he had nearly caused a serious accident, according to court documents.

Enraged and believing the bicyclist had damaged his car, Anstrom chased the bicyclist through a nearby parking lot. Unable to catch the first bicyclist, Anstrom stopped the second bicyclist and demanded to know the name of the first.

When the second bicyclist refused to give him the name, Anstrom knocked him off his bicycle, kicked him, punched him, threw the bicycle on top of the cyclist and then threw the bicycle against a telephone pole, according to court documents .