Latest from The Spokesman-Review
A medical marijuana patient contacted when a fire broke out at his Greenacres home told police he had been prescribed pot because of arthritis in his hand caused by "too much homework," authorities say.
The 19-year-old man and his 22-year-old roommate had 27 marijuana plants at his father's home in the 2500 block of South Timberlane Drive, which they are legally able to have under the state's medical marijuana law.
The plants were not seized after the fire last Friday, and neither man was arrested, but Spokane Valley police Sgt. Dave Reagan sent out a news release today that said Detective Travis Hansen asked the men what their special ailments were because "they were so young and appeared to be fit and in good health."
In addition to the 19-year-old's reported homework-induced arthritis, the 22-year-old said he had severe pain in one of his feet. Reagan said suspicions were aroused when one of the tenants told a fire inspector had had "smoked a bowl" and left to get something to eat.
But the fire does not appear to be caused by smoked marijuana, rather the 19-year-old may have discarded a cigarette in bark outside the home, said Bill Clifford, spokesman for the Spokane Valley Fire Department.
"He smokes a lot, both cigarettes and marijuana," Clifford said. "He reminded me of Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High."
Damage is estimated at $300,000, Clifford said. The home is insured.
The man's 53-year-old father suffered burns to right arm, neck and face while escaping the blaze, which began while he was downstairs watching TV. A smoke alarm alerted him to the blaze.
A neighbor also was treated for smoke inhalation he suffered while stopping the fire from spreading to his home.
More than $10,000 in stolen tools was recovered from a Spokane Valley storage unit today.
Detective Mark Renz believes the tools were stolen by Todd E. Hickman, 45, of Spokane, who was arrested Aug. 28 after police found him inside a vacant home looking for copper wire to steal, according to the Spokane Valley Police Department.
Hickman was released after charges weren't filed within 72 hours, but a felony burglary charge was filed in connection with the case Thursday.
Detectives also have probable cause to arrest Hickman for second-degree burglary after a search today at the Spokane Mini-Warehouse in the 4500 block of East Trent Avenue revealed $10,000 to $15,000 worth of tools, including rolling tool cabinets, stolen from Acme Machine Works, 60121 E. Sharp Ave., on Aug. 1, police said.
Three people were arrested Sunday for the theft of a car battery that police believe was traded for drugs.
Brittnie Amber Seidler, 24, is accused of stealing the $184 battery from the AutoZone parts store at 5005 E. Sprague Ave. as Charssie Blaire Williams, 24, and David Anthony Berg, 37, allegedly distracted employees.
"Williams signaled Seidler when it was safe to exit with the battery. Seidler placed it in the back of Berg’s vehicle and then walked down the street," according to a news release by Spokane Valley police Sgt. Dave Reagan. "Berg and Williams later picked her up at a nearby Costco."
Officer Ryan Smith tracked the suspects by Berg’s recently-purchased Isuzu Trooper, which was used in the theft, according to the news release. Williams and Seidler were arrested for third-degree theft. Berg was arrested for first-degree trafficking stolen property.
Here's a news release from Sgt. Dave Reagan:
A pair of Spokane Valley businesses suffered damaged offices over the weekend when someone with a pocketful of rocks and too much time on his hands broke numerous windows.
Employees of Schindler Elevator and Tuff Sheds, both located in the 400 block of North Thierman, found windows damaged Sunday morning.
The elevator firm suffered a shattered front window and shattered glass in the entry door.
Tuff Shed suffered shattered glass in the office door, as well as numerous broken windows in sheds on display at the location.
In neither instance did the suspect make entry into the buildings. Anyone with information regarding these acts of vandalism is encouraged to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
A burglary suspect was shocked with a Taser after refusing to exit a garage in Spokane Valley early Sunday, police said today.
Joshua Steven Coates, 31, "continued to resist and was forcibly taken to the ground and handcuffed" after the Taser was deployed in the 400 block of South McKee Street, according to a news release by Spokane Valley police Sgt. Dave Reagan.
Officers were called to the home about 3 a.m. by a resident who awoke to the sound of a burglary prowling his back deck, then kicking in a door to the garage, Reagan said.
Officers Mark Brownell and Seth Berrow found Coates inside the garage and said he appeared intoxicated and refused to obey commands.
"The suspect later told Officer Lamont Petersen that he thought he was at his ex-wife’s home and hadn’t kicked any doors," Reagan said. "The homeowner told police he didn’t know Coates and that he had feared for his life and the life of his sleeping five-year-old daughter."
Coates was booked into jail on charges of residential burglary and resisting arrest.
Someone did a little browsing inside Broadway Elementary School over the long Labor Day weekend. According to a press release from the Spokane Valley Police Department, someone broke into the school and snacked on some rice crispy treats, leaving the wrappers all over the kitchen floor. Some chips and applesauce were apparently carted off, along with some tape and pens reported missing by teachers.
There wasn't any damage to any windows or doors, so police aren't sure how the hungry villan was able to enter the school. No one in the school over the weekend saw anyone dining on the gooey treats. Anyone with information on the break in is asked to call Crime Check at 446-2233.
A theft investigation led to a SWAT team raid at a Spokane Valley home Wednesday, where detectives seized several suspected stolen firearms.
Donald Jay Patterson, Jr., 42, was arrested as a search warrant was executed at a home in the 3300 block of East 35th Avenue, where police found five guns believed to have been stolen from a home in the 2800 block of North University Road.
Patterson was stopped in a white Ford Mustang as he drove away from the home after being notified of the search warrant, according to court documents.
Police believe Kevin Robert Boler, 43, brought the stolen guns to the home. He was arrested in the 12000 block of East Valleyway Avenue.
The case began as a burglary, vehicle prowling and identity theft investigation. Police obtained surveillance footage showing suspects t later identified as Jermaine J. "Solo" Hockaday, 31, Justin E. Mueller, 30, and Marcella R. Walther, 34.
Mueller and Walther told police last week that they were "tired of their life style" and said they were angry at a man named Kevin "who kept a hold over them with an ever rising drug debt they owed him," according to court documents.
Mueller is in jail on theft and vehicle prowling charges. Hockaday is in Geiger Corrections Center on identity theft and stolen property charges. Walther was released after no charges were filed.
Patterson is in jail on charges of possession of a stolen firearm and felon in possession of a firearm. Boler is jailed on five counts of possession of a stolen firearm.
Police are asking for help identifying a thief who stole an MP3 player from an unlocked 2002 Dodge Dakota inside a Spokane Valley garage this month.
The victim's security video system captured images of the thief, who appears to be a white man about 25 to 35 years old with crew-length brown hair, thin and wearing a reddish t-shirt, shorts and dark shoes.
The burglary occurred Aug. 9 about 6:30 p.m in the 11400 block of East Railroad Avenue.
Anyone with information on the thief is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
Here's a news release from Sgt. Dave Reagan:
Officers arrested a 29-year-old Spokane Valley man Saturday after determining that he had stolen a pair of expensive rings from an elderly neighbor.
The victim told Officer Cindy North-Jones that Landon A. Carothers had done yard work and other odd jobs for her in the past. At about noon Saturday, she let him into her apartment to discuss other work he might do for her.
During the visit, Carothers asked to use the victim’s bathroom. After he left, she discovered a pair of rings that had been on the bathroom shelf missing. One ring was valued at $2,000 and the other at $500.
North-Jones was joined by Officer Ryan Smith and they attempted to contact Carothers at his apartment. No one answered the door, but the suspect and his girlfriend were found on bicycles at Appleway and Sprague. Neither claimed any knowledge of the theft.
North-Jones went to Pawn One and learned that the girlfriend had attempted to pawn one of the rings, but was offered only $20 and decided to keep it. Confronted with this information, the suspects pointed out in a nearby field where they had stashed the stolen jewelry.
North-Jones arrested Carothers and drove him to the Spokane County Jail to be booked on a felony count of Second-Degree Theft. The girlfriend may face criminal charges for her participation at a later date.
Here's a news release from Sgt. Dave Reagan:
Officers arrested a 45-year-old Spokane man Sunday after they caught him inside a vacant house apparently looking for copper wire to steal.
At 1:30 p.m., a man called to report a suspicious vehicle parked behind his mother’s vacant East Broadway home. Officers Brian Hert and Chan Erdman approached the home and noted “No Trespassing” signs on both the front and back doors.
The two ordered the person they heard inside the home to exit and Todd E. Hickman walked out. He acknowledged not knowing the owner of the home.
Hert’s investigation revealed that Hickman was on his way to the East Broadway Wal-Mart when he noticed two vacant homes across the street and decided to enter.
Hert checked Hickman’s truck and found a large amount of copper wire in the back. He also saw pieces of copper plumbing and a crowbar, hacksaw and other hand tools.
The officer determined that much of the wire had come from a vacant house just east of where they found Hickman. Although they were unable to contact the owner of that home, they did establish that the suspect had cut and removed the power cord from the home’s electrical dryer.
Hert drove Hickman to the Spokane County Jail and booked him on a single count of Residential Burglary.
Two Spokane men were arrested on felony assault charges Saturday after they severely beat a Spokane Valley resident near the Centennial Trail, police said.
Steven Robert Dreyer, 24, and his father, Christian K. Schuster, 42, were arrested after police found the 47-year-old victim with a large gash around his right eye and his left eye swollen shut in the 2800 block of North Mirabeau Parkway about 7:20 p.m., according to a news release by Sgt. Dave Reagan.
The man said he visited a homeless friend at the Spokane River each each and on Saturday found him with a black eye. He said the two talked with other men on the river bank and "believe the assault matter was settled," but that Dreyer then punched him in the face for no reason. Schuster pinned him to the ground while Dreyer continued assaulting them.
While police were talking to the victim, "a shirtless and intoxicated Dwight Lee Hubbard, 54, came out of the bushes and challenged the officer to fight," Reagan said. "He was quickly overwhelmed and handcuffed."
Schuster and Dreyer were booked into jail for second-degree assault; Hubbard was arrested on a warrant for trespassing.
The victim was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he received stitches.
Here's a news release from Spokane Valley police Sgt. Dave Reagan:
A 63-year-old Spokane Valley man is out $250 after he sent a “fee” to a company that told him he had won 3.5 million dollars and a new Mercedes in a lottery.
The victim reported that he sent the money, but was called a second time and told to send an additional $350 to cover a “federal stamp to go through the IRS.” He refused to send the second payment.
The victim reported that he received news of the lottery winnings in a phone call from two men, a Mr. Washington and a Duane Moore, both of whom had Jamaican accents and said they represented Global West Moon Fruit of Las Vegas, Nevada.
The lottery scam is an ongoing fraud where victims receive word by phone call or e-mail that they are a winner and must pay a “fee” or “taxes” to collect their prize. It is unknown how many intended victims don’t fall for the scam, but enough people are duped to keep the fraud alive and well in Spokane County.
Crime Check sees recurring reports from victims who have mailed or wired money to the “lottery officials” only to see their money disappear with no prize ever received.
The easiest way to avoid becoming a victim is to ask if you have actually entered any sweepstakes or purchased any lottery tickets for the stated event. If you haven’t, you aren’t a winner - keep your money in your pocket.
A father and son were arrested Wednesday after a neighborhood dispute that began with a middle finger led to a pistol being fired into the ground.
Stephan R. Day, 53 is accused of firing the pistol while his son, Stephan D. Day, 18, is accused of trying to hide his father's guns before police arrived. Police say the incident began about 9:15 p.m. when the elder Day "extended his middle finger" at a neighbor and his friends, according to a news release by Spokane Valley police Sgt. Dave Reagan.
The neighbor said Day has a history of harassment. He and his friends were leaving when Day again flipped them off, so they "decided to return and respond in kind," Reagan said. Day retrieved a .44-caliber pistol from his home and fired it into the ground at the men's feet, who retreated and called 911. No one was injured.
Police arrived to find the victims hiding behind a car and saw a man later identified as Day, Jr., drop a gun over the fence at the home. Police ordered him to drop the weapon and located three rifles on the ground, as well as two guns along the fence line. Day, Jr., was arrested for possession of a pistol by a minor and evidence tampering.
His father, who has felony convictions that prohibit him from possessing firearms, was arrested for five counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and single counts of harassment – threats to kill and reckless endangerment.
Police seized the pistol as well as a .330-magnum rifle, a 7mm rifle, a .45-caliber muzzle-loader rifle and a final rifle of unknown caliber. The Days are due in Superior Court today.
A 30-year-old man was arrested and his child was taken into protective custody after police found six marijuana plants in a shed in the back of his home Tuesday.
Spokane Valley police found Christopher Anthony Tonnessen's 2-year-old son sitting in the dirt among broken toys, wires, dog feces, sharp tools and string fencing after a neighbor called Crime Check about 7:15 p.m. to a report a child wearing only a diaper who appeared to be locked out of the home in the 11000 block of East Valleyway Avenue, according to a news release.
Police looked though a window and Tonnessen sitting at a computer with a"very large" marijuana bong next to him. Officer Darin Powers stood at the window with the child for nearly a minute before Tonnessen responded to his knocking on the window. Powers said the home smelled of marijuana "and the stench of decaying food, unwashed clothing and other filth," according to the release.
"The kitchen was so full of dirty dishes containing uneaten and rotting food, mold and insects it appeared to the officer that no one could cook there," the release said.
Tonnessen had a medical marijuana card that expired 18 months ago, police said. He also had a large bowl of marijuana and several other bongs in the home, as well as a jar of marijuana within reach of the child, police said.
Tonnessen allowed police to search the home and showed them the plants in the back shed. Police also found three plants outside the shed in the yard.
Child Protective Services transported the boy to a relative, and a dog was turned over to Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Services.
Tonnessen was booked into the Spokane County Jail on a felony count of manufacturing a controlled substance.
Here's a news release from Spokane Valley police Sgt. Dave Reagan:
Numerous Spokane Valley residents living in the area of 14300 to 14600 East Sixth reported their mail being stolen from street-side rural mailboxes between Monday evening and Tuesday afternoon.
Residents found their mail opened and tossed on the ground along the roadway. It was unknown if the thief found anything of value to steal, but identity thieves frequently target mail to obtain personal financial information which they then use to victimize the intended mail recipient.
Outgoing personal checks provide thieves with the names, addresses and account numbers of checking account holders, and incoming mail can provide pre-approved loan applications which can be activated with a simple signature.
Although financial institutions usually cover the victim’s monetary loss, it can take months or years to fix the victim’s credit history damaged by the suspect’s thefts.
Law enforcement professionals encourage all area residents to purchase a locking roadside mailbox to receive incoming mail on rural routes, or to rent a mailbox at the nearest post office.
Outgoing mail containing checks or cash should always be deposited in the larger blue U.S. Postal Service mailboxes located at shopping malls, grocery stores or in front of post office annexes.
I'm hearing reports of a bad accident on the eastbound I-90 Sullivan off-ramp. The Spokane Valley Fire Department is calling for extrication equipment. Spokane Valley Police are calling it a "serious injury accident" and detouring traffic, so if you are heading toward Sullivan it might be a good idea to pick another route. "It's a mess up here," said one officer.
4:22 p.m. update: Northbound Sullivan traffic is being detoured at Broadway; southbound traffic appears to be fine.
The 75-year-old man injured Monday when his Honda scooter hit the side of a car at Broadway and Progress died Monday night, the Spokane Valley Police Department announced yesterday. Charles Spurgeon died of blunt force trauma to his chest, police said. It appears that the other driver involved pulled out in front of Spurgeon, but the case is still under investigation.
In other Spokane Valley news, businesses that run heavy trucks over the Sullivan Road bridge should take note that the weight restrictions on southbound traffic will apply to northbound traffic starting Saturday. Construction just south of the bridge means that both southbound and northbound traffic will have to use the portion of the bridge that is deteriorating. When construction is done in September and traffic goes back to normal the restrictions will no longer apply to northbound traffic.
There are more details on both news items here.
Monday was apparently a day for car crashes caused by drivers who pulled out in front of people. Yesterday at 2:35 p.m. an teenage girl pulled out in front of a police car at the Spokane Valley Police Precinct on East Sprague, causing a police sergeant to hit the girl's car broadside, according to a press release from Detective Dave Thornburg. Reporter Meghann Cuniff has more details on her blog here.
A bit later at around 3 p.m. a 46-year-old Spokane woman was heading north on Progress and was attempting to cross Broadway. She pulled out in front of a Honda scooter being driven by 75-year-old Charles Spurgeon of Spokane Valley. His scooter struck the side of the car driven by Kristin Melton. Spurgeon was wearing a helmet, but had trouble breathing and was taken to the hospital, Thornburg wrote. An investigation is ongoing.
A Spokane Valley police sergeant struck a young driver who turned in front of him as he approached the police station in his patrol car Monday, police said.
Sgt. Mark Nygren (pictured) was not injured but the airbag deployed in his car it was towed from the scene, along with a 1988 Honda Accord driven by Chandra LaMarr, 18, of Hayden, Idaho.
Nygren was driving east on Sprague Avenue when Lamar pulled out from the police station driveway and turned left on to Sprague after waiting for pedestrians, according to a news release. Nygren's car stuck the driver's door of LaMarr's Honda about 2:30 p.m., police said.
Lamarr had a minor cut on one of her wrists but was otherwise uninjured. She was given a $175 ticket for failing to yield the right away.
An elderly Spokane Valley woman lost nearly $1,500 this year to a con man who claimed she'd won a new car.
The Spokane Valley Police Department is reminding people to talk with their elderly parents about phone, mail and email scams after the 84-year-old woman's daughter reported the fraud to Crime Check and said the thief calls her mother daily seeking more money.
The victim sent $1,475 to an address in Jamaica in March after a caller claiming to represent Morgan Stanley International told her she had won a new car and only had to pay them sales tax to collect it, Sgt. Dave Reagan said.
Reagan said such swindles "are nearly impossible to investigates and prosecute" because the culprits typically live outside the country.
He said people with elderly relatives "should insist that elders discuss with them any contest, lottery or other prize offers before sending any money for “taxes,” “border fees” or other claims of money owed."
There has been a car accident in the area of 32nd and Glenn that is causing the Spokane Valley Police Department to shut down 32nd. The Spokane Valley Fire Department extrication team has been called. Details from the scanner are slim, but I'll keep my ears open.
2:10 p.m. update: KHQ is reporting that the pedestrian hit by a car at 32nd and Glenn has died. Officers called for a chaplain on the scanner a bit ago.
Five people were arrrested in Spokane Valley yesterday in two drug raids staged by detectives from the Spokane County Sheriff's Office/Spokane Valley Police Department Investigative Task Force. The first raid was in the 13200 block of East 31st Court where one man was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. Police recovered two ounces of marijuana, cash and a gun.
The second raid in the 10100 block of East Main netted five arrests, a loaded shotgun, cash and 290 Oxycodone pills worth about $8,600. The resident was arrested for possesion of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and second degree unlawful possession of a firearm. The others present, including a woman who told police she was 10 weeks pregnant, were arrested for possession of a controlled substance. A one-month old infant was removed from the home.
Click here for more details, including the names of all those arrested.
Photos of two vehicles suspected in a series of fuel thefts led police to identify three suspects, officials said today.
A suspected drunken driver caused a brief power outage in Spokane Valley this morning after he struck a power pole and three parked cars.
Nathaniel Lewis, 26, was speeding westbound on 8th Avenue when he lost control in the 12900 block about 3:12 a.m. and hit the power pole, then hit a parked Chevy Tahoe before striking two other parked cars in a driveway at 12924 E. 8th Ave., according to the Spokane Valley Police Department
Neighbors reported seeing Lewis trying to escape into a backyard, but a resident told him to return to the car. He did so, police say, but only to awake his passenger, Lucas Remington, 32, who was initially knocked unconscious. Lewis and Remington fled, but police located them a short while later.
Lewis had a felony warrant out of Ellensburg for third-degree assault, and Remington was wanted for possession of drugs with intent to deliver. Both men were treated for minor injuries at the Valley hospital.
Lewis was arrested for drunken driving; a blood sample is expected to take six weeks to process. Both men were booked into jail.
A 29-year-old woman found dead in her home Friday in Spokane Valley has been identified as Lyndsey White by the Spokane County Medical Examiners Office. Police arrived at her home in 2000 block of South Fawn after she didn't go to work Friday and her boyfriend become concerned. Reporter Jody Lawrence-Turner has more details here.
Police are trying to identify two vehicles driven by thieves who have stolen thousands of dollars worth of fuel since May.
Someone stole a fuel car from an Environment West vehicle in the 7500 block of North Argonne and paid for gas purchases worth more than $2,000, including one in Adams County, before the card was returned to the vehicle.
On June 7, someone cut through security fencing at the Central Valley School District, 19300 E. Cataldo Ave., and stole fuel cards from several buses.
"The thief, and presumably his friends, has racked up more that $5,000 in stolen fuel bills," Sgt. Dave Reagan said in a news release. "All of the gasoline was stolen from Pacific Pride fuel stations, and most was stolen at the Newman Lake site."
Surveillance photos from gas stations show a mid-90s green standard cab Dodge pickup that is lifted and has a silver passenger door and after-market wheels.
Also pictured is a mid-to-late 90's white GMC or Chevrolet Tahoe (possibly a Suburban) that has a roof rack, white taillight covers and a pitbull sticker in the right rear window.
Anyone with information on the owners of the vehicles is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
A statue of a bulldog was stolen from the front porch of a south Spokane home recently.
A resident in the 3000 block of East Tara Drive in the Moran Praire neighborhood noticed the cast-iron bulldog missing from her front porch Tuesday morning.
She said the $300 statue "is very heavy and would have taken two persons to lift," according to a news release by Sgt. Dave Reagan titled "Dog-Gone thieves."
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
The Spokane Valley Police Department is reporting that someone broke off 80 sprinkler heads at Trentwood Elementary sometime over the weekend. The damage was discovered Monday morning and was limited to the front of the school. The school is in a residential neighborhood, so police are hoping that someone noticed something. Anyone with information on the vandalism is asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233.
The Spokane Valley Police Department conducted a pedestrian emphasis for five hours yesterday at the intersections of Valleyway and Mullan/Argonne. They gave out 110 tickets (at $124 a pop) to drivers who failed to yield for pedestrians in the crosswalk, according to Detective David Thornburg. Officers handed out 30 tickets for other traffic violations as well, including four for driving with a suspended driver's license.
Thornburg wrote in an email that a citizen had stopped to complain to officers about the emphasis, only to witness a person in a wheelchair nearly get hit by a car while trying to cross the road in the marked crosswalk.
The emphasis patrol was part of a regional push to promote safety awareness. You can find out more information at www.stickmanknows.org.
A SWAT team surrounded a Spokane Valley home for several hours Thursday hoping to apprehend a suspected thief with a long rap sheet, but he wasn't home.
Michael G. Grant, 37, has warrants for being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a stolen firearm.
Police also believe he is connected to stolen vehicles that have been dumped in the Valley and other thefts.
Grant was featured in a 2005 article in which he accused then-Mayor Jim West of sexually abusing when West was a sheriff's deputy. He said the alleged abuse led to his deep-seated distrust of law enforcement.