Latest from The Spokesman-Review
A suspected car prowler was arrested early today after a woman spotted him stash stolen property before he pilfered a neighbor's garage.
A man arrested in a police pursuit that damaged two patrol cars late Monday has been charged with robbery for an alleged incident at the Northtown Mall in November.
Kenneth S. Crowston, 47, (pictured in 2003) is charged with second-degree robbery after a Sears security guard said Crowston hit him when confronted about shoplifting a pair of boots on Nov. 24.
Crowston was arrested the day of the incident but was not charged and was out of jail late Monday when police spotted him in his car dressed in black in a neighborhood plagued by burglaries.
Crowston sped away from Officer Jay Kernkamp after Kernkamp approached him about 11 p.m. in the area of West Central Avenue and North Belt Street, then sideswiped Kernkamp's patrol car and rammed Officer Paul Bode's patrol car head on during a pursuit.
Crowston was pulled from his vehicle and arrested after a struggle.
Neither officer was injured in the incident.
Crowston, who has a lengthy criminal record, was booked into jail on two counts of second-degree assault, attempting to elude a police officer, driving with a suspended license and resisting arrest, where he remains on $100,000 bond.
A Spokane woman never imagined that serving on the jury of a burglar would solve her burglary, as well.
“In all my time as a prosecutor, that’s the first time I had a juror solve her own case,” Deputy Prosecutor Bob Sargent said. “What are the odds of picking a jury and picking a gal who is a victim of the defendant but doesn’t know it? Then she gets a suspicion that is correct.”
Shea Swoboda, 28, had her South Hill home pilfered Aug. 16. Last week, she realized defendant Gary McCabe (right) may have burgled her own house, which led to a mistrial.
PORT ANGELES, Wash. (AP) — While Devan Miller was bird watching recently on Olympic Peninsula, he saw bald eagles, kingfishers, woodpeckers and his stolen Volkswagen Vanagon.
Miller told The Peninsula Daily News the van was so badly damaged he almost didn't recognize it. The top and side panels had been cut off and the dashboard ripped apart.
Clallam County detectives took fingerprints, but Miller has little hope of finding whoever took the van from his Port Angeles driveway in November.
The engine and transmission were intact when he spotted the van Jan. 2 in woods near the Elwha River. Miller was able to drive it eight miles to an auto sales yard, which is giving him credit toward another Volkswagen.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that solve a burglary in which two Spokane-area companies lost more than $5000 in copper wire and power tools.
The crime is believed to have occurred between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Wednesday at an Avista Utilities storage site at 2400 N. Dollar Road in Spokane Valley.
Employees believe the thief or thieves cut a padlock from a gate and backed a vehicle into the lot, then removed more than $3,000 in items from five Avista work trucks using a wheelbarrow.
Bouten Construction, which also stored items at the site, lost several power tools valued at about $2,000, including two Skil circular saws, two roto hammers and two cordless battery charges.
Anyone with information on is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that identify a man and woman who,k between Dec. 1 and Dec. 3, used stolen credit card information to reload Visa gift cards purchased from Safeway at 1001 N. 4th St. in Coeur d'Alene.
The thieves used the cards to buy $2,500 in items from local businesses.
Safeway surveillance photos show a woman with light brown or blond hair and wearing a dark, v-neck shirt and dark pants. The man is wearing a blueish plaid coat with a light-colored collared shirt and has dark hair.
Anyone with information on their identities is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (208) 667-2111 or 1-800-222-TIPS. Tipsters do not have to use their name but should provide a code name or number.
MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — A Mankato man landed in jail after calling 911 and telling police a prostitute failed to deliver on his $200 payment.
Authorities say the 26-year-old man called police from the Super 8 motel in Mankato Wednesday and told officers he agreed to pay the woman for sex, but that she took his cash without holding up her end of the deal.
Officers tracked down the woman after the man gave police a description of her vehicle. Both the man and woman found themselves behind bars in the Blue Earth County Jail.
The Free Press says that besides prostitution and disorderly conduct citations, police issued a third misdemeanor charge of doing business without a peddler's permit.
IRONWOOD, Mich. (AP) — Police in Michigan's remote western Upper Peninsula probably won't make a recent snake theft complaint a high priority.
That's because the man reporting is pet stolen says it happened in November 2009.
The Daily Globe says the Ironwood man filed the complaint Monday. He says he thinks he knows who stole his snow corn snake from a home in Ironwood.
Police say they asked him why he waited 14 months to come forward, and he said he was doing "some bad stuff" with friends at the time his snake disappeared.
Officers say they interviewed the woman fingered as the thief, and she denied stealing it.
Her theory? The man just misplaced it.
The man says he bought the constrictor on the Internet for $80.
An observant postal inspector arrested two mail theft suspects this week after recognizing them from surveillance video.
Tony L. Gust, 31, and Dustin C. Hoyle, 22, were arrested Tuesday after admitting to breaking into post office boxes at the Opportunity station and stealing mail, according to federal court documents.
The men are accused of breaking into 32 post office boxes and 18 parcel lockers at the post office at 11712 E. Sprague Ave early Monday.
Video showed two men breaking into the boxes about 12:52 a.m. and leaving at 1:07 a.m., then returning at 1:42 a.m. and using a knife to access the lockers, according to court documents.
U.S. Postal Inspector Shannon Saylor was patrolling the area of Pines and 5th Avenue Tuesday when she saw two men who looked like the burglars.
Hoyle and Gust were detained for questioning then arrested after reportedly admitting to the crime.
Both were allowed to leave jail after appearing in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, but Hoyle remains in jail on an unrelated negligent driving charge.
A burglar stole a credit card reader and a small amount of cash from a Spokane Valley pizza shop overnight Tuesday.
The owner of Buck's Pizza, 13221 E. 32nd Ave., told police the thief pried open a back door and an interior door to access the office.
A sounding alarm likely prevented the thieves from gathering "additional booty," Sgt. Dave Reagan said in a news release.
Tracks in snow and pry marks on a door at a neighboring business, R. Salon, indict the thief also tried to break in there, police said.
Police found the card reader and a pry bar inside a stolen truck processed on Tuesday, but no arrests have been made, Regan said.
Someone stole more than $5,000 worth of tools and copper wire from an Avista Utilities storage site in Spokane Valley early Wednesday.
Employees at 2400 N. Dollar Road believe the thief or thieves cut a padlock from a gate and backed a vehicle into the lot, then removed more than $3,000 in items from five Avista work trucks using a wheelbarrow.
Bouten Construction, which also stored items at the site, lost several power tools valued at about $2,000, including two Skil circular saws, two roto hammers and two cordless battery charges.
Based on the amount of snow accumulated in footprints, police believe the break-in likely occurred sometime between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Spokane Valley Police Department.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
A man suspected of stealing fuel from a Spokane gas station led police from two cities on a lengthy chase on slushy roads Wednesday before ramming a patrol car, officials said.
Police spotted Jacob S. Beck, 33, driving eastbound on Trent Avenue in a 1988 Mercury Cougar after reports of a driver stealing $54 in fuel from a station at 3030 E. Euclid Ave. about 3:40 p.m. Witnesses said Beck drove his car at a customer who tried to stop him, causing a gash on the man’s hand, which led to a robbery charge.
Beck ran a red light at Fancher and Broadway and turned eastbound at Sprague at speeds of 50 mph in the 35 mph zone, police say, then allegedly rammed a patrol car driven by Spokane Valley police Officer Hal Whapeles, causing minor damage.
Police called off the chase because of heavy traffic and dangerous road conditions but soon found the Cougar abandoned at Appleway Chevrolet near Sprague and Dishman Road after 911 received several reports of the car driving recklessly.
Officers found Beck in a vacant lot near Sprague and Vista and booked him into jail on robbery, assault and eluding police charges.
Beck is on probation in Washington and has a non-extraditable burglary warrant out of California. He was a Crime Stoppers fugitive last summer when he was wanted by the Department of Corrections for escape from community custody.
He has previous convictions for vehicle theft, drug possession, burglary, theft, driving while suspended, forgery, making false statements, unlawful possession of firearms, possession of stolen property and probation violations, according to Crime Stoppers.
Anyone with information about Wednesday's incident is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
A convicted burglar accused of stealing a Spokane man's gold and silver coin collection began this week after the suspect backed out of a scheduled plea hearing at the last minute.
Gary D. McCabe, 45, is facing up to seven years in prison in connection with a burglary that occurred last August in the home of Dennis and Bette Miller.
Attorneys gave opening statements today before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Linda Tompkins. Stolen were thousands of dollars worth of gold and silver coins, including some from the U.S. Mint dating back to 1960.
Some of the coins have been recovered and efforts continue to recover the rest. McCabe had been scheduled to plead guilty to the current charges on Monday. He was convicted in October for a different burglary that occurred in October 2009 on South Glenrose Road.
McCabe’s rap sheet also includes property crime convictions that date back to age 12.
Kristin Bell had what she calls a moment of weakness that has turned into a 2 1/2-year legal nightmare and forced her to give up a dream of ever working as a grade-school teacher.
Bell, 24, admits that she foolishly stole $163 worth of items in 2008 from a craft store in Cheney. But it’s what happened on her way to her car that forever changed her life and sparked a legal debate that continues today.
“It’s just been such an ordeal,” said Bell, who is about three classes short of her degree, unemployed and recently had a son. “I obviously admitted I shoplifted and paid the fines for it. I don’t believe being charged with robbery was right at all. It’s been ridiculous.”
The case, and others like it, has raised questions within Spokane’s legal community as to whether justice is being served when prosecutors turn what appears to be a shoplifting case into a felony at the same time they complain to county commissioners and taxpayers that they are understaffed and overworked.
UNIONTOWN, Pa. (AP) — An attorney charged with stealing $99,000 from two elderly couples he represented has met a judge's deadline to appear in court for trial.
Fifty-three-year-old Mark Morrison didn't appear for trial Monday after his attorney said he couldn't arrange for an ambulance to bring the bedridden counselor to the Fayette County Courthouse.
But the Herald-Standard newspaper in Uniontown is reporting that County Judge Steve Leskinen believes that Monday's delay and some related motions may be a last-ditch attempt to put off the trial that has been pending since 2006.
Leskinen has found Morrison competent to stand trial even though the attorney showed up on a gurney and claimed to be unable to speak during a competency hearing in November.
The judge's staff says Morrison arrived in court Tuesday morning.
Police say a Spokane Valley man suspected of robbery made it easy for them on Sunday: He let employees copy his driver’s license number before leaving the store.
But Delano Edward Jennings, 47, was ordered released from jail Monday because prosecutors didn’t have the necessary documents from police.
Jennings was arrested after he left Home Depot, 5617 E. Sprague Ave., with a stolen electric fan and carpet shampoo, then punched a security guard in the face when confronted in the parking lot, according to police.
The guard had watched Jennings hand his driver’s license to another employee while exchanging items prior to the theft, police said.
Jennings fled eastbound with the stolen items, but the store still had a copy of his driver’s license number.
Spokane Valley police Officer Mike McNees remembered a domestic violence incident that was investigated at Jennings’ apartment a day earlier and alerted other officers, who located him at the home about 9 p.m.
Jennings was arrested on the robbery charge but left jail because prosecutors didn’t have a probable cause affidavit from police. Superior Court Judge Michael Price warned him that charges likely will eventually be filed.
Jennings is a felon with previous convictions for bail jumping, theft and delivery of cocaine.
A 30-time felon described by police as a "one-man crime wave" is headed to a Washington prison for a short-lived crime spree in Spokane last spring.
Ricky Wayne Everett, 33, was sentenced to 43 months in prison this month for theft of a motor vehicle. Sentences for unlawful issuance of a bank check, fourth-degree assault, attempting to elude police and forgery will be served concurrently.
Everett, who was wanted for passing bad checks in Maryland, was arrested in May for buying a car from a Chattaroy couple with a fraudulent $13,900 check.
That was just a couple months after he left federal prison after serving time for impersonating a U.S. marshal in Oregon. He moved to Spokane in April after meeting a teenager over the Internet and quickly caught the attention of law enforcement, who said he carries a Taser and has told citizens he's a police officer.
Everett held a local business license private investigation firm called Ricky’s PI Service, which he apparently used to help perpetuate scams. He also has a history of responding to accident scenes as a police officer or as a paramedic.
Federal prosecutors in Oregon have called his mental state, "a puzzle, to say the least."
A burglary spree at Spokane convenience stores last winter recently earned a 30-year-old man about two years in prison.
Michael L. Yamaguchi was sentenced to 29 months in prison for burglary and car theft charges related to eight burglaries, a few in which cars stolen from local dealerships were driven to the targeted stores.
Samantha Wynne, who babysat Yamaguchi's son during the burglaries and shared in the proceeds, was credited for one day already served in jail after pleading guilty last week to three counts of second-degree burglary and three counts of theft of a motor vehicle.
Yamaguchi's accomplice, Stephen Victor, pleaded guilty Tuesday to the same charges as Yamaguchi, eight counts of second-degree burglary and three counts of theft of a motor vehicle and was sentenced to 180 days in jail with credit for 145 days served. He'll be on probation for 12 months and all were ordered to pay $9,045 restitution. Detectives already recovered electronics bought with the stolen cash.
The three were arrested in February, but charges weren't filed until after Yamaguchi was arrested in another burglary in May. They were originally charged with 30 felonies.
Kootenai County’s former chief deputy clerk is suspected of embezzling $138,905 over a 10-year period ending in October, a Coeur d’Alene Police Department spokesman said this morning.
Sandy Martinson, 62, has not been charged or arrested, said Sgt. Christie Wood with the Coeur d’Alene Police.
However, Wood said, a charging decision is pending with the Bonner County prosecutor’s office, which is handling the case because Martinson worked for Kootenai County.
Two men arrested last week may each be the Inland Northwest's version of the Grinch.
Steven J. Karvela, 39, is suspected of stealing Christmas package from Spokane homes, then selling the would-be gifts at pawn shops. Joseph Michael O’Masters, 43, of Hayden Lake, was arrested in Coeur d'Alene that same day for grand theft after police found him with stolen property worth more than $1,275 in the 3200 block of West Manning Loop.
Spokane police were on alert after several thefts were reported in Spokane and Kootenai counties when a woman reported a package stolen by a man in a Honda-type car. She wrote down what she thought was a license plate, and police spotted a 1992 Ford Escort with a similar plate outside a Spokane pawn shop on Christmas Eve.
Police stopped the car, and the driver, later identified as Karvela, said he lent his drug dealer his car and, in return, the dealer told him he could sell any property left in the car, according to court documents.
Karvela told police that he "know the property was 'probably' stolen, that he was 'in trouble' and that he was going to prison," police wrote.
Karvela had pawned several expensive items in the last couple of days, police said.
He's in custody at Geiger Correction Center on $5,000 bond after appearing in Superior Court on Monday on stolen property charges.
Thefts have been reported in the South Hill area near Cannon Hill, near Whitworth College and in the deeper southeast areas of south Spokane, police said. Victims should report thefts to Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
Spokane Valley police arrested a trio of commercial burglars early today after officers caught them stealing items from a construction shed.
A neighbor called police shortly after midnight and reported a suspicious pickup truck parked in the 4900 block of East Sixth.
Officers found three suspects on the nearby Alpine Construction property. Edward D. Counts, 21, was carrying a stolen tarp, police said.
Counts was arrested for second-degeree burglary, along with Jacob Allen McReynolds, 28, and Danielle U. Jeffries after officers found where they'd hidden a stolen nail gun and tent, accoridng to a news release.
Spokane police are looking for help identifying two men who stole from a Christian school's thrift shop.
Surveillance video shows the men remove the rug, which is worth more than $750, from a wall of the Northwest Christian Thrift Shop, 6607 N. Maple St., last Saturday about 1:15 p.m.
The thieves then leave in an older model, four-door Chrysler sedan that was silver or dark gray.
Proceeds from the thrift shop fund the religious school and community activities. All items are donated.
Video shows one man wearing a leather jacket, light-colored pants and a yellow bucket hat and another man in a black and white striped stocking hat, dark pants and a light blue plaid jacket.
Police say the men each face a felony theft charge. Anyone with information on their identities is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
A theft suspect accidentally caught by police after fleeing a downtown Spokane clothing store remains in jail on $25,000 bond and a probation hold.
Gavin D. Wolf, 24, (pictured in 2008) appeared in Superior Court Tuesday on a second-degree robbery charge.
A passing patrol car struck Wolf Monday as he darted across Main Avenue shortly before 5 p.m. while being chased by a Nordstrom security officer, said Major Crimes Sgt. Mark Griffiths.
The suspect suffered a leg injury and was taken to a local hospital. "It was completely coincidental. (Nordstrom) hadn't called us yet," Griffiths said.
Although the robber never displayed a weapon, he used force when confronted by a security guard, police said, fleeing with a bag of clothing and other items found near Wolf at the accident scene. The police car was driven by Officer Joe Denton.
Griffiths said Denton and the Nordstrom security officer reported that Wolf was outside the crosswalk.
Wolf already was wanted on a Department of Corrections warrant for escape from community custody.
He was sentenced in April to five days in jail for misdemeanor theft and was sentenced in September 2009 to nine days in jail after pleading guilty to felony third-degree retail theft with extenuating circumstances. He also has previous convictions for drugs and drunken driving.
BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts woman has been sentenced to more than four years in prison after admitting that she and her husband intentionally ate glass particles, then submitted false insurance claims.
Mary Evano was also ordered Tuesday to pay more than $340,000 in restitution. In September, she pleaded guilty to a 23-count federal indictment charging her with fraud, conspiracy and other offenses.
Federal prosecutors say that from 1997 to 2005, the couple collected more than $200,000 in compensation after filing insurance claims that they had been injured by restaurants, hotels and grocery stores that had served them food containing glass particles.
Evano's husband, Ronald Evano, pleaded guilty in 2007. He is serving five years in prison.
The couple incurred more than $100,000 in medical bills, which remain unpaid.
Law enforcement is again warning of a swindle known as the grandparents scam after a 79-year-old Spokane Valley woman sent money to a con man claiming to be her grandson.
The woman called Crime Check on Monday and said a man claiming to be her grandson called on Dec. 9 and asked for money to bail out jail in Canada.
The victim believed him and sent a $2,750 money order to a man named "B" in New Jersey, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. She later realized it was scam.
"Citizens in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s grew up in a more trusting era and are particularly susceptible to this type of fraud," according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. "Suspects can pick their victims from obituaries where the children and grandchildren are occasionally listed by name."
A third suspect in a series of convenience store robberies was arrested early today.
Aaron L. Goldstein, 18, was caught trespassing inside a building in the 400 block of South Bernard and driven to the Public Safety Building, where interviews with Spokane County sheriff’s Detective Mike Ricketts connected him to six recent robberies, according to a news release by Sgt. Dave Reagan.
Two other suspects, Sean T. Smith and Vanessa E. Orr, both 23, were arrested Wednesday during a SWAT team raid at the Crossland Motel, 12803 E. Sprague Ave.
Ricketts believes the three robbed the Holiday gas station, 2303 N. Argonne Road, on Dec. 4, as well as Sam’s Stop and Shop, 11505 E. Sprague Ave., on Nov. 28.
Orr reportedly admitted to being in the car during several robberies and said she’d driven to and from the Holiday gas station holdup, according to court documents. She was released from jail on her recognizance Thursday after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court on a conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery charge.
Smith remains in jail on a Department of Corrections probation hold. Goldstein has been booked on one count of fist-degree robbery, Reagan said.
Spokane police are looking for tips that help identify two people who stole a purse from the lobby of a health care building.
Surveillance video shows a man and woman entering the lobby of Group Heath Cooperative, 322 W. North River Drive, about 11:50 a.m. on Dec. 2.
Police believe the two stole a purse from the waiting room floor. The purse was recovered in the parking lot, but items were missing. Police are looking for help identify the two featured int eh video.
The woman has dark hair is wearing a white, long-sleeved shirt with black pants and white shoes. The man is wearing tan shorts, white socks, a black, unzipped hooded jacket, a black shirt with a white shirt underneath and a black beanie hat with a white stripe.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
The case of the missing gold coins has become one of recovered treasure – at least partly.
Spokane County Sheriff’s Detective Richard Gere has located some, and has information that may lead to the recovery of many more, of the gold and silver coins boosted during an August burglary from Spokane coin collector Dennis Miller.
Charged in the theft is Gary D. McCabe, 45, who recently was sentenced to seven years in prison for a 2009 burglary. McCabe is currently facing the same time in prison at a Jan. 10 trial for the Miller burglary.
“Through the good police work of Deputy Brandon Armstrong and Detective Richard Gere, they were able to recover part of the stolen coin collection,” Deputy Prosecutor Bob Sargent said. “Information gathered by the detectives so far indicates that others were involved and there is an ongoing investigation.”
Spokane Valley police were searching Wednesday for at least three intruders who ransacked the home of Ernie Creach, son of slain Spokane Valley pastor Wayne Scott Creach.
Ernie Creach said his wife, Laura, arrived at their home Wednesday with their two young children and saw people inside the house near Eighth Avenue and Best Street.
“She thought I had called contractors to work in the house,” Ernie Creach said. “She went in the back door and they went out the other back door. There were at least three of them. Someone went out of a back window, so there may have been more than three.”
The Spokane County
Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that the three culprits were all
white men in their 20s. The burglary locked down a nearby elementary school.
Three men suspected of trying to steal fuel from a commercial van were arrested early Tuesday.
Frank Millard Fry, 48; Cash L. Fry, 46; and Douglas Lee Curtis, 48, were jailed on theft charges after Spokane County sheriff’s Deputy Darin Powers drove past Twilight Bedding, 12013 E. Trent, about 2:40 a.m. and saw two sets of feet standing on the other side of a van. A white pickup truck was parked closed by.
Frank Fry pulled a garden hose from the van’s fuel nozzle and jumped in the truck with Curtis. Powers held both men at gunpoint until help arrived. Cash Fry, who was in the driver’s seat of the truck, also was arrested.
Deputies recovered the hose used to steal gas and also recovered two automotive batteries that been removed from a vehicle by cutting the cables, according to a news release.