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“John Doe” apprehended near Canadian border

Border Patrol agents found a man sleeping inside a stolen car near Sullivan Lake Tuesday after authorities were tipped to suspicious activity over the weekend.

A man told a Pend Oreille County Sheriff's deputy a stranger parked on his property near Ione on April 28 and said he ran out of gas. The man noticed some unusual behavior by the stranger and wrote down his vehicle's license plate number while his father bought him gas, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.

The deputy later learned the 2001 Ford Expedition was reported stolen out of Hubbard, Oregon on April 7, the release said. The deputy notified U.S. Border Patrol and an agent spotted the vehicle on April 29 during a foot patrol near the Canadian Border. The stolen vehicle's driver saw the agent and fled the area, the release added.

Border Patrol agents found the stolen vehicle around 10 a.m. on Tuesday and found the man sleeping inside. He did not have identification on him and refused to tell authorities his identity. The Sheriff's Office described him as a white male in his late 20s.

He's being held at Pend Oreille County Jail on charges of possessing a stolen vehicle and stolen property.

Newport inmate smuggles drugs into jail

A Newport man being booked into Pend Oreille County Jail on Thursday was caught smuggling a stash of drugs into his shorts.

The inmate, identified as 25-year-old Clinton E. Trickel, cut holes into his waisteband to hide hydrocodone, oxycodone, marijuana and a pipe, but jail staff found it, according to a Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s Office news release.

Trickel had several outstanding warrants on bail jumping and lying to authorities from last month, Pend Oreille County dispatch confirmed. He failed to appear to his court dates and was arrested on those warrants.

He now faces an additional felony charge of possessing drugs.

Deputies catch hungry Newport thief

Not only did a burglar steal away with a Newport homeowner’s truck early Thursday morning, he cooked a meal in the victim’s kitchen.

The homeowner woke up around 2:30 a.m. to investigate a noise downstairs when he saw the truck driving away with the burglar at the helm.

He realized the burglar broke in through the dog door, he told dispatchers.

Deputies found the stolen vehicle about 14 miles north of Newport on State Route 20 after noticing the driving operating the truck in an erratic manner, the news release said.

They pulled the driver over and identified him as James M. Ericksen, 30.

Deputies arrested Ericksen for vehicle theft, a DUI, driving with a suspended license and a failure to appear for an incident in another county.

Bedridden man’s threats put Newport Hospital in lockdown

Threats from a frustrated bedridden man sent the Newport Hospital into lockdown this week.

Yep. You read that right.

The hospital learned that a patient with a Wednesday afternoon appointment had told people that he was planning to tear the place up and hurt people during his upcoming doctor's visit, according to the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office. Hospital staff put the facility into lockdown for about an hour.

Deputies contacted the man, who they described as bedridden, and said he acknolwedged making threatening statements but said he'd done it out of frustration and wasn't serious. The man's afternoon appointment was canceled and he was ordered to stay away from the hospital except for emergency care.

Minnesota fugitives arrested at Bead Lake cabin

A man wanted on theft charges in Minn. was caught over the weekend by Pend Oreille County authorities after he was found hiding in a cabin near Bead Lake with his girlfriend, according to a Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s news release.

Deputies learned last week Justin L. Feldt, 32, and Jessie A. Pechia, 26, were possibly on their way to Bead Lake, about ten miles north of Newport, Wash. Deputies found an abandoned vehicle that matched his vehicle’s description and began canvassing nearby summer homes.

They also learned a small row boat had been stolen nearby and they believed it was used to visit the other side of the lake only accessible by boat or an ATV, according to the news release.

Deputies borrowed an ATV from Idaho authorities and drove it to the lake cabin where they found Feldt and Pechia. They were arrested on Dec. 15 local burglary, firearm, theft, obstruction charges and the additional out-of-state warrants from Minnesota.

Feldt was originally sought by Minn. authorities for felony charges of check and mail theft and financial fraud. A warrant for his arrest was issued Nov. 21, according to the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office website.

Couple arrested for Cusick home burglaries

Authorities arrested a couple last week for allegedly burglarizing eight homes near Usk, Wash., according to a Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s Office news release.

Based on tips and evidence, deputies searched a home near the burglaries where a suspect, James L. Nenema, 25, lives.

Not only did deputies uncover a cache of stolen goods, but they found another suspect, Sarah J. Lucier, 25, hiding in the crawl space under the home.

Deputies recovered a variety of reportedly stolen items including tools, furniture, televisions, electronics, home decorations and some miscellaneous household items.

Nenema and Lucier were arrested for residential burglary and theft, but may face additional charges as deputies continue their investigation and process evidence.

Motorcycle sounds help break burglary

The sounds of motorcycles led sheriff's deputies in Pend Oreille County to identify two burglary suspects this week.

Sean T. Ponder, 26, and Reesa M. Yancy, 23, were arrested last week after a residential burglary on Deer Valley Road near Newport.

They're accused of stealing motorcycles, tools and guns from the home on Tuesday. Deputies were canvassing the neighborhood for leads when they heard motorcycles in the distance, according to the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office. They drove closer to the noise and contacted homeowners who directed them to the home where the motorcycles came from.

Ponder and Yancy were arrested at the home. Deputies recovered the stolen items, as well as other suspected stolen property.

While driving the suspects to jail, deputies heard a report of another burglary nearby. They listened to a description of the stolen items and realized they matched goods found with Ponder and Yancy, the sheriff's office said.

Kidnapped man escapes from car trunk

A kidnapped man forced into the trunk of a car in Montana freed himself on a Pend Oreille County highway early Sunday, leading to two arrests.

A motorist said he was driving on Highway 2 near Pend Oreille Park about 7:10 a.m. when the trunk of the vehicle in front of him opened and a man started waving his arms and yelling for help, the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office said today.

The vehicle stopped and the man jumped from the trunk and ran toward the witness's vehicle. He said he'd been beaten, bound and forced into the trunk while in Montana.

Sheriff's deputies stopped the suspect vehicle a short time later near Newport, Wash. The driver initially refused to stop, and someone threw a firearm from the vehicle that was later recovered.

Kenny J. Morrison, 29, and John M. Davis, 39, of Columbia Falls, Mont., were arrested on charges of kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, fourth-degree assault, possession of methadone without a prescription and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Pend Oreille County sheriff's investigators are working with detectives in Flathead County, Mont.

Burglary suspects ‘afraid’ of task force

One of two suspected serial burglars arrested in Oldtown, Idaho, recently told investigators they were afraid to burglarize homes in Spokane County because of the recent surge in property crime arrests here, officials say.

Jessica L. Davis, 25, and Randle “Kyle” Phelps, 29, were followed Friday by members of the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Burglary Task Force to a secluded neighborhood near Bead Lake in Pend Oreille County, which has been the target of recnet burglaries.

Task Force members observed two home burglaries and contacted the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office. Patrol deputies helped task force members arrest the two in the parking lot of an Oldtown gas station.

A drug dog with the Bonner County Sheriff's Office detected  something in the vehicle, which led deputies to recover heroin and methadone.

Davis and Phelps were booked into jail on drug charges. Their 2002 Nissan Sentra contained suspected evidence from the burglaries.

Task Force members are working with Pend Oreille investigators to prepare charging recommendations for the burglary sprees.

“Davis made a comment to a BTF investigator that they had gone to the rural area of Pend Oreille County because of the recent and numerous Burglary Task Force arrests and was afraid to commit burglaries in Spokane County,” according to a news release.

2 homicide victims killed each other

A fight over an old car near a remote Pend Oreille County lake led to a rare double homicide in which investigators believe the victims killed each other.

No arrests are expected in the homicides of Richard “Richie” R. Hill, 18, and Steven Quinn Divine, 22, early Sunday because investigators believe each is responsible for the others death, officials said Monday.

“One of the victims had a knife, the other had a gun. And the results are they are both deceased,” said Thomas Metzger, Pend Oreille County coroner and prosecutor.

Read the rest of my story here.

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.
  

Feds find dead body while snowmobiling

Federal agents found a dead body while training with snowmobiles last week in Pend Oreille County.

U.S. Border Patrol agents were in the mountains northeast of Sullivan Lake when they found the body of a adult male, the Pend Oreille Sheriff's Office announced Monday.

Deputies say the man is a 61-year-old from Los Angeles. His identity is being withheld until his family is notified of his death.

Investigators believe the man left his vehicle on foot and died and hypothermia, the sheriff's office said.

Man missing w/ Pomeranian dog

The Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office asking for help locating a 54-year-old man and his Pomeranian dog.

 William J. “Bill” Bailey, 54, had been staying in his car on a friend's property in Cusick when he was reported missing Jan. 3. Bailey is 5-foot-11, 230 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes.

Anyone with possible information is asked to call (509) 447-3151 ext. 2.

Suspect sought in pizza place hold-up

Detectives are asking for help finding a man suspected of robbing a Newport pizza place last week.

Benjamin Thomas Watson, 24, is considered armed and dangerous after the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office linked him to a robbery at Westside Pizza, 325 S. Washington Ave., on Friday.

Thomas is described as 5-foot-7 and 170 pounds with blue eyes and very short hair or a shaved head.

He's believed to be driving a grey 1987 Nissan Pathfinder, with Washington license plate 837UBL.

Anyone with information on Watson's location is asked to call the sheriff's office at 1-800-669-3407. If you see him or his vehicle, call 911.

2 wanted after meth bust in Pend Oreille Co.

Three men are wanted after deputies found clandestine meth labs and stolen vehicles at a home in Pend Oreille County. 

Suspect Shad A. Johnson, 38, (left) already was being sought by police in Spokane County in connection with a separate drug case stemming from an arrest outside a Spokane developer’s home.

Now Johnson is accused of being a key player in a case Pend Oreille officials say began when he escaped from the woods near the Spokane County line during a burglary investigation March 30.

When a caller reported a man and woman pointing a rifle out a car window near Metaline, Wash., the next day, investigators determined the suspect vehicle belonged to Michael P. James, 37, of Athol, (right) who they believe has been staying with Johnson at a home at 172 Bobier Road, northwest of Newport.

Deputies arrested six people from North Idaho and Eastern Washington over the next few days, but Johnson and Jason P. Conboy, 30, of Spokane, remain at large. James was arrested Monday after breaking a Pend Oreille County sheriff’s deputy’s wrist in a scuffle, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Read more in tomorrow’s Spokesman-Review.

3 pit bulls maul mini horse in Pend Oreille Co.

Three pit bulls mauled a miniature horse before being shot to death in Elk, Wash., last week, the Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s Office announced today.

The melee led sheriff’s deputies to a marijuana growing operation on the dog owner’s property, according to a news release.

The man, Justin R. Howell, lives next door to the horse owner, who told a sheriff’s deputy he’d fired several warning shots before shooting Howell’s dogs.

Two died at the scene; a sheriff’s deputy took the third to a veterinarian, where it died of the gunshot wound, according to the Sheriff’s Office

The horse is being treated for severe injuries.

Howell told deputies he has a medical marijuana permit, but detectives found more than 50 plants and several pounds of dry marijuana, which exceeds the amount allowed for medicinal use.

Deputies also seized a police-issued bullet proof vest. Howell was arrested on a charge of manufacturing a controlled substance and cited for having a dog at large.