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Appellate court upholds murder conviction amid DNA concerns

A trio of appellate court judges have upheld the 2012 murder conviction of Julio J. Davila in the beating death of John G. “Jack” Allen Jr. during an apparent robbery in 2007, despite concerns about the incompetence of a DNA technician handling the case.

Jeramie R. Davis was convicted and spent nearly seven years in prison for his alleged role in the porn shop robbery. But investigators asked for a second look at DNA evidence found at the crime scene, a pornography shop on East Sprague Avenue. Traces of Davila's DNA on the murder weapon, a baseball bat, lead to his arrest, conviction and sentencing in a subsequent trial. Davis was set free shortly after the conviction, as prosecutors could not prove he ever swung the murder weapon.

Davila appealed his conviction, saying prosecutors did not turn over evidence of incompetence on the part of Washington State Patrol crime lab technician Denise Olson. The now-fired lab worker was described as a “loose cannon whose work cannot be trusted,” according to an internal WSP review of her work released through a public records request. During a court hearing evaluating Olson's work and how it might have affected the case, a coworker detailed an incident in which Olson looked for semen stains on clothing when the suspect was a woman.

Attorneys for Davila argued his conviction should be overturned because prosecutors knew about Olson's shoddy work at the time of trial, but didn't reveal her record to the defense team, which could have used it to question the believability of the state's evidence. The U.S. Supreme Court's opinion in Brady v. Maryland (1963) requires prosecutors to turn over all evidence that might be used to impeach their witnesses to defense attorneys.

In the opinion delivered by the court, Third Division Appellate Judge Robert Lawrence-Berrey wrote prosecutors erred when they did not turn over the WSP reports, but such evidence likely wouldn't have led to a different trial outcome for Davila. He cited extensive testimony at trial that indicated how the DNA evidence was collected, and that there was no reason to suspect Olson contaminated evidence in this particular case, despite her history of incompetence.

“While evidence of Ms. Olson's incompetence could have been used for impeachment purposes, it was not material to the accuracy of Ms. Olson's work in this case,” Lawrence-Berrey wrote.

Davila is serving what remains of his 16-and-a-half year sentence at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. Davis pleaded guilty to a second-degree robbery charge, was given credit for time served and released.

CPD Seeks Jitterz Coffee Hut Robber

Coeur d'Alene Police Detectives are investigating a robbery of The Jitterz coffee stand in the 2800 block of Government Way on Friday between 5:55 p.m. and 6 p.m. The suspect is described as a white male, early 20s, 5-Foot-8 to 5-foot-9, very skinny build, white T-shirt and blue jean shorts. The suspect male entered the coffee stand through the entrance/exit door. Once inside the coffee stand the suspect male ordered the two female employees to the ground and stated “this is a robbery, I have a gun.” No weapon was displayed as the suspect had a black shirt over his right hand and was pointing it toward the female employees. The suspect attempted to open the cash register, but was unsuccessful. He then took an unknown amount of cash from the tip container/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Coeur d'Alene police photo)

Suspected robber uses spoils to spoil mother

A 24-year-old man used a credit card he swiped from a Spokane Valley shopper in a strong-arm April robbery to buy a Mother's Day present online, according to investigators.

Spokane Valley authorities searched several residences last week looking for Damian Plumley and evidence of the April 24 incident. A woman said she was walking from her car following a shopping trip when a man matching Plumley's description bumped her from behind, knocking her to the ground. The man took her purse, which contained several credit cards.

Detectives learned those credit cards were used to buy items at a local convenience store and at several department stores' websites. While searching Plumley's residence in the 11000 block of East Fourth Avenue, police found an electric tea kettle they confirmed was bought using the robbery victim's credit card.

Plumley's mother told police her son had bought it for her as a Mother's Day gift.

Plumley is in custody of the Spokane County Jail facing charges of robbery, identity theft, leaving the scene of an injury accident and possession of stolen property.

Would-be booze robber leaves store without liquor, freedom

A man accused of stealing a $13 bottle of vodka from a Spokane grocery store was arrested on suspicion of first-degree robbery after he allegedly punched a clerk and heaved the liquor bottle into the road.

Chad Burk, 40, was arrested late Friday after witnesses said he left a Safeway store on North Market Street without paying for his alcohol. A clerk watched Burk grab a bottle of vodka and a can of beer, walk to the frozen foods section and place the can of beer inside. Burk placed the vodka in his jacket and walked out without paying, according to the store clerk.

The clerk chased Burk out of the store, where Burk allegedly punched him twice and pushed him up against a wall. The employee wrestled Burk to the ground when police arrived.

At some point during the altercation, Burk threw the vodka into the street, according to court records.

Burk was released from custody without bond this weekend. He is expected to make a first-appearance on the charge against him Monday afternoon.

SpongeBob robber sentenced to 13 years

A Worley man who donned a cartoon character mask to rob an espresso stand in Coeur d’Alene last year will spend at least four years behind bars.

Kyle Ernest Campbell, 25, wore a SpongeBob SquarePants mask when he robbed Lean Bean Espresso at 1207 E. Sherman Ave. on Jan. 30, 2013.

Campbell, who pleaded guilty to armed robbery on Oct. 3, entered the stand armed with a handgun and demanded money from employees, who complied. He then fled on foot.

He was sentenced Monday by 1st District Judge Lansing Haynes to a prison term of four years fixed and another nine years indeterminate, with credit for time served.

Campbell has a lengthy arrest history, primarily on tribal charges, but only two convictions – for misdemeanor careless driving and minor in possession of alcohol, the Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said.

He acknowledged he has a substance abuse problem, the prosecutor’s office added.

Police suspect woman in 2 pharmacy robberies

Spokane police are asking the public to help identify a woman suspected of robbing two pharmacies over the weekend.

The first robbery was at Safeway, 3919 N. Market, just after 4 p.m. Saturday. The second was at Fred Meyer at 400 S. Thor just before 5:45 p.m. Sunday. Both times, a female demanded prescription medication and fled.

The woman is described as white with brown hair, 5-foot-4 to 5-foot-6, 120 to 130 pounds, and 20 to 30 years old.

Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward for anyone providing information leading to an arrest. Call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-800-222-TIPS or forward the tip via www.crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org.

Multiple guns found in felon, robbery suspect’s home

A police search of a home near a Browne's Addition convenience store robbed multiple times last month revealed multiple guns thought to be owned by the nine-time convicted felon implicated in the thefts.

Justin Werle, 28, remains in custody at Spokane County Jail, facing charges of owning modified weapons illegally. He was previously implicated in at least one attempted robbery at Sunset Grocery, 1908 W. Sunset Blvd. on Dec. 28. But police said the store had been robbed twice previously in the previous four weeks and they thwarted Werle's plot for a third.

Investigators think the same white man - disguised in a hooded sweatshirt, gloves and a bandana - committed the two successful robberies. Police found a .22 revolver, a rifle and an “old rusty revolver” in Werle's residence, just behind the convenience store. Also recovered was a pack of cigarettes matching the brand of a carton stolen from the store earlier and a pair of gloves that appeared similar to those worn by the robber.

Prosecutors have not yet said whether they will pursue additional robbery charges against Werle, who was released from prison in January 2013 after serving time on multiple riot charges. A woman who identified herself as Werle's mother appeared at a court hearing last week, saying her son showed up at the convenience store armed with a sawed-off shotgun to protect a clerk who was concerned about the recent spate of robberies.

Man who robbed woman at nail salon, threatened to shoot grandma sentenced

Kyle Henriksen, 23, will spend the next seven years in prison after pleading guilty earlier this month to first-degree robbery of a woman at gunpoint in a Spokane Valley nail salon last December.

Henriksen pleaded guilty to the robbery in September, but his original sentencing date was pushed back because of an October incident when the 23-year-old allegedly threatened to kill his grandmother. That incident does not appear to have affected Henriksen's plea deal. According to court records, Henriksen received an 87-month sentence, the lowest end of a sentencing range dictated by his criminal history.

Henriksen is currently being held at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton, Wash., according to prison records.

The salon robbery took place Dec. 28, 2012, when Henriksen - clad in a black sweatshirt and wearing sunglasses - walked up to a woman he knew and demanded her purse, which contained $150 in cash. The woman tried to hit the gun out of Henriksen's hand, then he fled on foot before an arrest a few days later when a search during a traffic stop turned up drugs. Henriksen also pleaded guilty to assault charges stemming from a 2009 incident in which he pistol-whipped a man trying to return a stolen purse to Henriksen's girlfriend, according to court records.

Nicholas Richardson, 24, told police he'd driven the getaway car for Henriksen after the salon robbery. He pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery in March and served three months in prison, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Henriksen told police who responded to the alleged death threat made in October that his grandmother had misunderstood what he said. The grandma told police she tried to keep Henriksen from pawning her big-screen television, prompting the spat.

Images released of Hayden Domino’s robber

 

The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office has released video of the person who robbed Domino's Pizza in Hayden on Nov. 15. 

A man entered the restaurant, struck an employee in the face with a handgun, stole cash and fled northbound. He was a white male, about 6 feet tall, with a hooded sweatshirt and a red bandana over his face.

Anyone with information about this robbery is encouraged to call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at (800) 222-TIPS. 

Death threat against grandma lands robber back in jail

A 23-year-old man who pleaded guilty earlier this year to robbing a woman at gunpoint in a Spokane Valley nail salon will likely face a longer prison sentence after police say he threatened to shoot his 80-year-old grandmother.

Kyle Henriksen was booked into Spokane County Jail last week after police said he violated conditions of his release. Henriksen was scheduled for sentencing in an armed robbery that occurred at the Super Nails salon at 1525 N. Pines Road on Dec. 28. Witnesses said a man walked into the salon, clad in a black hooded sweatshirt and wearing sunglasses, and pointed a gun at a woman getting a pedicure, demanding her purse.

The thief fled the scene on foot, and the woman identified Henriksen as the likely suspect. After trying to pin the robbery on an acquaintance, Henriksen eventually admitted to carrying out the robbery.

A few days after the robbery, police pulled Henriksen over for a broken tail light. They found drug paraphernalia and a blue powder that Henriksen said was “probably Oxycontin,” but said it didn't belong to him. Henriksen was also arrested later in July for leading police on a chase that ended at the apartment he was sharing with his grandmother.

Court records show Henriksen pleaded guilty to the December 2012 robbery in September. Sentencing in the case was scheduled for Nov. 18, in which prosecutors anticipated seeking the lower end of the sentencing range for first-degree robbery: 87 months, or a little over seven years.

But on Oct. 23, police were called to Henriksen's apartment on accusations he'd threatened to shoot his grandmother. When they arrived, the grandmother told police that Henriksen was pawning all of her possessions and had attempted to unplug her big-screen television so he could sell it. When she resisted, he yelled “I'll shoot you,” she told police.

Henriksen said his grandmother misunderstood what he said. He also told police he had a drug problem and said they would find drug paraphernalia under the cushions of a sofa in the home where he'd been sleeping. Police later arrested him for driving with a suspended license.

Police arrested Henriksen in 2009 when, as a 19-year-old, he assaulted two men who said they were attempting to return a purse belonging to Henriksen's girlfriend. Armed with a handgun, Henriksen struck one of the men in the face, causing the gun to fire and strike his jaw, according to previous news reports. Henriksen pleaded guilty to two counts of assault in the incident in December 2010, according to court records.

Court records show sentencing has not yet occurred in the December 2012 robbery case. Henriksen is being held in the Spokane County Jail.

Police: Murder suspect committed robbery day before shooting

The 19-year-old Spokane man suspected in a June fatal shooting has been implicated in a series of computer armed robberies originating on Craigslist and dating back to March.

Issiah Schauman appeared in Spokane County Superior Court on Friday facing two counts of first-degree robbery for his involvement in separate incidents at area parks where thieves posing as prospective buyers of Apple products brandished guns and made off with the loot. The appearance came several weeks after Schauman appeared on first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of Fabian McBride, 27, on June 12.

According to court records, Schauman was involved in an armed robbery taking place less than 24 hours before police say he shot and killed McBride then sped off, eventually turning himself over to authorities in Pierce County two weeks later. Schauman initiated the June 11 robbery in Liberty Park because he didn’t have money, according to an unnamed police informant. He pulled a .45 semiautomatic pistol on the female victim while another suspect, Michael Garner, snatched the woman’s Macbook laptop and ran.

Schauman was also involved in a March robbery at the same park, according to court records. He was not present for a May robbery that took place at Franklin Park, which involved Garner and Curtis Cyrus, also arrested for his role in the three burglaries.

According to Jenny Ludwig, an apartment manager where McBride lived, the spat that ended in the June shooting began when McBride accused Schauman of burglarizing a home McBride was watching for a friend.

The state requested $100,000 bond for the two robbery counts Schauman faces. He remains in Spokane County Jail awaiting an expected murder trial date of Oct. 7.

Suspects’ fingerprints found on murdered World War II veteran’s car

Investigators discovered fingerprints linking two teenagers to an 88-year-old World War II veteran murdered two weeks ago.

Police say Demetruis Glenn and Kenan Adams-Kinard, both 16, beat Delbert “Shorty” Belton to death Aug. 22 while he sat in his car, according to an affidavit. Investigators found Glenn’s prints on the exterior read driver’s side door and the interior of the rear driver’s side passenger door. Adams-Kinard’s prints were on the exterior driver’s door and the interior of the rear driver’s side passenger door.

Belton’s body was found wedged between the front bucket seats, with his lower body from the neck down folded into the back seat area, according to the affidavit.

Friends said Belton was in his car near the Eagles Lodge, waiting to meet a friend for a game of pool. Adams-Kinard claimed in a letter that the teens were planning to meet him there to purchase crack cocaine, but Belton “tried ripping them off.”

Glenn and Adams-Kinard will appear for an arraignment on Sept. 12 at 3:30 p.m. Both face charges of first-degree murder and two charges of first-degree robbery.

Lean Bean Robbery Reward Offered

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Video still from Coeur d'Alene Police Department, of robber brandishing gun at Lean Bean.

Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest has offered a cash reward for information leading to the arrest of a male responsible for the Lean Bean Espresso Robbery that occurred on Tuesday at 1820 North West Boulevard at 5:28 p.m. A white male described as wearing blue jeans, grey hooded sweatshirt and red shoelaces displayed a gun and demanded money.  The clerk gave the male an undisclosed amount of cash and the suspect fled on foot into the 1000 block of Emma Avenue. Video surveillance of the suspect is attached to this press release. Anyone with information on this crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 208-667- 2111 or 1-800-222-TIPS. Information can be submitted on line here. Callers are asked to use a code name or number and do not have to use their own name to be eligible for a reward.

DFO: Let's catch this punk.

Woman posing as prostitute, one man arrested in robbery

A woman posing as a prostitute and one man were arrested in connection to an armed robbery Friday morning, police say.

Tenisha M. Herrell, 25, arranged to meet with the male victim on backpage.com, an online classifieds site frequently used by prostitutes and escorts, according to a Spokane police news release. Herrell, who went by the name of “Melanie” on the site, agreed to meet him early Friday morning near Hill ‘n’ Dale Rotary Park near Colton and Jay Street, the release said.

See the original story here.

Three robberies appear connected

Spokane Valley Police believe that three recent robberies of Spokane Valley businesses are related based on the similiar descriptions of the suspects. A convenience store at 722 N. Park Road was robbed at 10 p.m. on May 13 by two men, one described as a white male and the other as possiblty a hispanic male, according to a police press release. They wore hoodies with the hoods up, bandanas over their faces, baseball caps and gloves.

Piece of Mind at First and Pines was robbed at 10 p.m. on May 16. There were three men involved and two of them matched the description of the two men in the first robbery, police say. A convenience store at 411 N. Pines was robbed just after midnight today (Tuesday) by two men matching the same description. Weapons were displayed in all three robberies, according to police.

Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of $3,000 to anyone who gives information that leads to an arrest in the case. Tipsters can remain anonymous. Anyone with information is asked to call the tipeline at (800) 222-TIPS. Photo courtesy the Spokane Valley Police Department

Coeur d’Alene Police release SpongeBob robbery footage

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The Coeur d'Alene Police Department has released the surveilance footage of a robber wearing a SpongeBob SquarePants mask Wednesday evening at Lean Bean Espresso, 1207 Sherman Ave.

Police said the robbery left with an undisclosed amount of cash in the hold-up and there were no injuries reported.

A man with a gun ordered two employees of the coffee stand to hand over cash and fled on foot along 13th Street.

The robber is described as 5-foot-8 with a medium build and weighing about 180 pounds. In addition to the mask, he wore a black hoodie pulled over his head and dark baggie jeans, according to police.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call Coeur d'Alene police at (208) 769-2320.

Photos show gunpoint 7-Eleven robbery

A reward is being offered for tips that help identify a man who robbed a Spokane convenience store at gunpoint early Saturday.

Surveillance photos released today show the man pointing a gun at a clerk at 7-Eleven, 1425 N. Maple St., about 4:30 a.m.

The robber is described as 5-foot-6 and 180 pounds, and in his late 20s or early 30s.

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

Robber gets 41 years for ‘92 murder

A serial bank robber and protected federal witness has been sentenced to 41 years in prison for the 1992 murder of a Spokane Valley furniture store owner.

Patrick Kevin Gibson, 60, was convicted of first-degree murder of the Nov. 7, 1992, shooting death of Brian Cole, 48, at Cole's Furniture Store on East Sprague Avenue in July after a bench trial before Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen.

Cole was killed during a botched robbery after the gunman said he was willing to hurt Cole's wife, who was in a scooter and witnessed the murder.

The crime went unsolved for 19 years before DNA from a fake beard left at the crime scene prompted detectives to arrest Gibson, who served 12 years in federal prison for a string of bank robberies that began in 1992.

He enrolled in the federal witness protection program after helping authorities convict his former cellmate of murdering a mother and her two children in Iowa in the early 1990s. That man, Dustin Honken, is now on federal death row.

Gibson also was convicted of robbing convenience stores and raping clerks in the late 1970s, about the same time he was shot in the face by a law enforcement official during a chase in Utah.

Gibson testified a partner in his bank robberies must have reused the beard, but Eitzen concluded he was the killer and had also robbed a children's store in Coeur d'Alene hours before the murder.

The trial began in May but was delayed when prosecutors learned “America’s Most Wanted” used the hat worn by the killer when re-enacting the murder in a 1993 episode. The trial resumed after authorities tested DNA samples from host John Walsh, a retired sheriff's detective and the actor who played the killer, Spokane County native Trevor St. John.

Eitzen sentenced Gibson on Friday to 493 months in prison. His lawyers have appealed his conviction.

Past coverage:

July 20: Gibson's bravado as robber didn't help

Suspect cleared in May home invasion

A Spokane man arrested for a May home-invasion robbery has been cleared of wrongdoing in what his lawyer says was a case of mistaken identity.

Joshua Clint Epperson, 32, still faces seven felony gun, drug, burglary and theft charges for a May 1 burglary.

Police believe Epperson stole guns, electronics and jewelry from a home in the Country Homes area to help pay a $1,000 debt to his heroin dealer. Epperson's girlfriend, Chelsey M. Loe, also is suspected in the case. Investigators searched the couple's home at 51 E. Crown on May 6 and recovered meth and suspected stolen property.

Epperson was summonsed to court for an arraignment but arrested just a few days before for a May 22 home invasion robbery in the Indian Trail area. Robbery and kidnapping charges were dismissed in Spokane County Superior Court on Thursday. Epperson is to stay with a friend in North Spokane if he's released from jail. His lawyer said he possibly has a job at a tattoo parlor.

Suspects Erik J. Zacher, 26, and Nathan W. Day, 21, still are charged for the home-invasion robbery. Nathan T. McDaniels, 28, alias Gardner, was sentenced last month to 10 years in prison.

Past coverage:

May 30: Police: We saved repeat offender's life
  

2 charged in attempted carjacking

Two suspected car thieves tried to steal a vehicle from a stranger outside a north Spokane restaurant, police say.

 Bennie Lee Carson, 31, and Charles A. Nickens, 27, followed the man north on North Division Street and confronted him when he pulled into the McDonald's parking lot at Division and East Heroy Avenue about 7:15 a.m. on June 27, according to police.

The victim said one of the men reached into his waistband as he approached and made it appear as though he had a firearm. The other man told the victim “he liked his rims and wanted his keys so he could drive his car.”

Wright refused and “aggressively walked past” the men and into McDonald's, where he called police. A friend who was to meet the victim at the McDonald's that morning witnessed the incident an through the men were perhaps confronting him over a driving dispute.

The victim's friend is an Avista meter reader who said he considered using his “dog stick” meter reader to stop an assault should it occur, according to court documents.

Police found the car in the Shadle Park Wal-Mart later that day. One of the occupants said she got the car from a man named Bennie, “a car thief who steals and traffics in stolen vehicles,” police wrote.

Carson and Nickens were charged last week with second-degree robbery and possession of a stolen motor vehicle - police say they car they followed the victim in was stolen.

Carson also faces possession of stolen motor vehicle charges for cars found at his home at 2415 E. 1st Ave., where police believes he strips stolen vehicles, in June when police responded to a report that he was assaulting his girlfriend. The home also was the target of a SWAT team heroin bust in March.

Carson was arrested on car theft charges July 1. Nickens also was arrested last month and has been in jail since. Prosecutors filed charges for the attempted robbery on Aug. 2.

Home-invasion robber gets 10 years

A robber who fled a north Spokane home after being struck with a sword has been sentenced to nearly 11 years in prison.

Nathan T. McDaniels, 28, alias Gardner, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary and two counts of first-degree robbery and was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Greg Sypolt to 129 months, according to court records.

McDaniels was arrested in May for a robbery  in the 9600 block of North Alpine Court, as was Nathan W. Day, 21.

Joshua Clint Epperson, 32, a level 3 sex offender, was arrested later in May. Erik J. Zacher, 26, was arrested in July.

The men are accused of entering the home about 2:45 a.m. on May 2, binding residents with zip ties and pistol whipping. The attackers asked about a safe and stolen several items. Police found a stolen Wii console and baggies of methamphetamine when they arrested Day at a home in the 900 block of East Wabash Avenue. They say he had a stolen handgun with him that may have been used in the robberies.

One resident told police four men knocked on the door and he let McDaniels in to use the bathroom. One of the men asked him if he wanted to smoke meth, and the man said he walked the men downstairs to wake up his girlfriend. That's when Day displayed the gun and the man was bound with zip ties as others stole items from the home, court documents say.

WalMart shoplifter headbutts cashier

Police are trying to identify a man who headbutted a WalMart cashier while shoplifting last week.

An image from a surveillance video shows the man at the store on East Broadway Avenue in Spokane Valley.

A cashier told police he approached the man when he saw him walking toward the west exit with a large bulge in his sweatshirt about 12:45 a.m. July 24.

The man tried to exit, but the doors were locked, so he headbutted the cashier and escaped through a fire exit, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. The thief dropped stolen items in the process.

The Sheriff''s Office released the surveillance photo today in hopes someone will recognize the man.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Jack Rosenthal at (509) 220-6424 or at (509) 477-3186.
  

Medical pot robbery reported in Valley

Two men were arrested for a gunpoint robbery in Spokane Valley on Sunday that the victim said targeted medical marijuana.

Veniamin Glushchenko, 20, and Krysta Rose Jones, 21, are accused of robbing a man at a home in the 17400 block of East Coach Avenue.

Deputies responded to the home about 6:40 p.m. They located the suspect vehicle at the Hico at 1201 N. Barker Road and were told a man and woman had committed the robbery for a drug debt, according to court documnets.

An employee at Hico reported seeing a man and woman at the store about the time the car was discovered. The employee called 911 about 3 a.m. and said the man and woman were at the WalMart.

Deputies arrested Jones and Glushchenko there and booked them into jail for first-degree robbery, where they remain today.

Man arrested for unreported robbery

Another suspect in a home-invasion robbery has been arrested after his alleged accomplice told police about a crime that hadn't been reported.

Travis Heath Bertholf, 40, is accused of robbing an apartment in the 2500 block of East Hartson Avenue with David Fredrick Smith sometime in May.

Spokane County sheriff's Detectives Jack Rosenthal and Mike Ricketts were on a tour of home-invasion robbery sites with Smith after his arrest when Smith directed them to the Hartson location.

They identified the resident, Loyalee Elton, through utility records and contacted her. She told them two men wearing bandannas over their faces robbed her of a backpack containing 200 to 300 watches at gunpoint, according to court documents. Her brother also was held at gunpoint.

One of the men threatened to kill her, Elton said. Smith told police he and Bertholf entered the residence through an open back door. Smith had a 9 mm semi-automatic gun; Bertholf had a .380 semi-automatic, documents say.

Smith admitted to pointing a gun at Elton when she pleaded with him not to take the back, police say.

Bertholf was arrested Thursday about 1:30 p.m. He appeared in court today on charges of first-degree robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm. He has 13 felony convictions that prohibit him from possessing firearms, including a drug conviction from last October.

Smith also is in jail. He is charged with a series of home-invasion robberies with suspect Flint Fire Herrmann.

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.
  

7-Eleven robbery trio pleads not guilty

Three men accused of robbing a 7-Eleven store at gunpoint have pleaded not guilty.

Joseph Taitano, 20; Aleksandr Ampleyev, 20; and Jorell Jones, 21; got about $300 in cash and coins and a felony charge of first-degree robbery for the incident at 1317 S. Grand Blvd. about 2 a.m. July 15.

A woman who said she was sleeping in their getaway van said the men threw the cash drawer out the window and counted the money while talking about “how awesome” the robbery was, according to court documents.

A Spokane police officer spotted the van at a Cenex Zip Trip gas station at 57th Avenue and Regal Street about 20 minutes after the robbery.

Taitano and Ampleyev are in jail; Jones is out on $25,000 bond.

Suspect arrested in May home robbery

A fourth suspect has been arrested in a home-invasion robbery in the Indian Trail area that ended with a resident confronting his attackers with a sword.

Erik J. Zacher, 26, is accused of robbing residents in the 9600 block of North Alpine Court in May.

Suspects Nathan W. Day, 21, and Nathan T. McDaniels, 28, were arrested a day after the robbery. McDaniels still is there; Day is out on $25,000 bond.  Joshua Clint Epperson, 32, a level 3 sex offender, was arrested later in May and remains in jail.

The men are accused of entering the home about 2:45 a.m. on May 2, binding residents with zip ties and pistol whipping. The attackers asked about a safe and stolen several items. Police found a stolen Wii console and baggies of methamphetamine when they arrested Day at a home in the 900 block of East Wabash Avenue. They say he had a stolen handgun with him that may have been used in the robberies.

One resident told police four men knocked on the door and he let McDaniels in to use the bathroom. One of the men asked him if he wanted to smoke meth, and the man said he walked the men downstairs to wake up his girlfriend. That's when Day displayed the gun and the man was bound with zip ties as others stole items from the home, court documents say.

Zacher is charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree robbery, second-degree assault and three counts of first-degree kidnapping. He was arrested Saturday.

McD’s robbery suspect arrested in Calif.

A suspect in a series of armed robberies in Spokane was arrested in California Wednesday - his 26th birthday.

Avery Lee Loring was booked into the Fresno County Jail at 6:23 p.m. on a U.S. Marshals' hold.

He's is believed to be one of four men who robbed the McDonald's at 4647 S. Regal St., on May 25 while six juvenile customers were inside.

Suspects Michael D. Brown, 23; Dwayne J. “DJ” Tolbert, 21; and Brettly Sanderson, 16, have been arrested. They are among several suspects jailed for a series of loosely connected hold ups.

Loring and Tolbert also are accused of robbing the Zip Trip at 2020 W. Francis Ave., at gunpoint on May 31. The robbery netted $14, cigarettes and cigars.

Loring was sentenced to four years in prison in 2006 for a robbery attempt near Gonzaga University. Crime Stoppers had been offering a reward for information that led to Loring's arrest.

A reward still is being offered for tips that help arrest another robbery suspect, Oladejo B. Olajoyegbe, 24.

Man in Facebook robbery gets 15 years

A 23-year-old man who robbed a boy lured to Spokane through Facebook avoid a life prison sentence recently when a judge approved a plea deal.

David Michael Martinez was sentenced to 15 years in prison for first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and third-degree assault. He was arrested in June 2011 for first-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery and faced life in prison without the possibility of parole under Washington's three-strikes law.

Martinez has previous convictions for attempted second-degree robbery and second-degree assault, which are strike offenses. He also has convictions for attempting to elude police.

His lawyer prepared a mitigation package, and prosecutors agreed to reduce the charges “given the difficult circumstances of defendant's childhood upbringing,” according to court documents.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza approved the 180-month sentence on Thursday, which is exceptionally high for the gun and assault convictions.

Martinez admitted to robbing a Post Falls boy who arranged to meet a girl through Facebook.

The victim said he agreed to meet the girl at Corbin Park with $75, but when he got in her Chevy Tahoe, two men later identified as Martinez and Brendan T. Dalla pointed handguns at him and demanded his money, according to court documents.

Dalla was sentenced in November to four years in prison for second-degree robbery. The girl was charged as an adult, but her charges later were moved to juvenile court.

Cops: Security salesmen assaulted rivals

Two young security salesmen assaulted and robbed two men from a rival company in Cheney on Monday, police say.

Suspects Kyle C. French, 18, and Ignatius Tepp, 19, work for Stryker Security Sales. Todd Jensen and James Stoker, who work for Vivint Security Sales, told police they were attacked by the men because he was selling products in their area.

Vivint saleswoman Miranda Hayes said the men were rude and aggressive when they confronted Jensen and stoker and told them to stay out of their area.

French and Tepp were located at their an apartment on Betz Road in Cheney. French “said the Vivint reps were stealing their sales so they confronted one of them to tell them to stop,” according to court documents.
French and Tepp stole paperwork, an ID badge, an iPad, a hat and a carrying case.

“Kyle said he took the property as trophies,” according to court documents.  All the items were recovered except the iPad, which French said he threw in Medical Lake because he knew it could be tracked.

Neither suspect has a criminal history.

Superior Court Judge Annette Plese noted the violent nature of the crime and likelihood of prison if convicted when she imposed $5,000 bond for Tepp and $10,000 for French. French just pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge about a month ago. He's been working as a traveling salesman for about five months, according to court testimony.

A reference French gave the court told officials French likely wouldn't show up for court if he was released, which contributed to Plese's decision on bond.