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Thief hits Homeland Security officer’s car

A Spokane woman is accused of stealing a federal Homeland Security officer's passport and and using it to pawn two stolen rifles.

 Investigators identified Amanda Wayne Macklin, 23, as a suspect after finding her number in Double Eagle Pawn's phone records. They say she called the pawn shop on Nov. 21 asking if a passport could be used to sell items there, then went to the East Sprague Avenue store and sold the stolen guns for $475 using a passport belonging to Shannon L. Hart.

Hart was at Oz Fitness at 603 E. Holland in Spokane on Nov. 20 when someone prowled her vehicle and stole her Homeland Security identification card, her passport and a Sig Sauer .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol, according to court documents.

Agents with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms obtained surveillance video of a woman pawning the rifles, which were stolen in a burglary Nov. 21 at a home in the 12000 block of North Denver Street. Macklin's family members identified her as that woman, according to court documents. Macklin told them she dumped Hart's passport and pistol into a dumpster, investigators say.

Federal agents also obtained a recording of Macklin telling her mother in a phone call from the Spokane County Jail that she pawned the guns and burglarized other homes to support her and her sister's drug habit. Macklin and her sister, Jordan Newkirk, already are charged with several felonies for an alleged burglary ring.

In the Dec. 26 break-in, the thieves used a spring-loaded punch to break holes through a lower window at a home in the 100 block of West Falcon Avenue and stole thousands of dollars in jewelry, including a ring that contained the ashes of the homeowner's mother.

Police in Kent, Wash, had noted the unusual burglary tool in Macklin's Kia Spectra when they arrested her there four days before the burglary.

Spokane County sheriff's Detective Mark Newton noted in his report that he and his partner have been detectives for 45 years total and have never found anyone in possesses of such a device, which he said would shatter normal glass but didn't at the Falcon Avenue home because the glass was tempered.

“If one were to use such a punch on a normal piece of glass, the punch would shatter the glass leaving no indication a punch was used,” Newton wrote in court documents.

Macklin was charged in that case in March. Prosecutors filed six new gun and property crime charges May 25 for theft of Hart's passport. Then a federal grand jury indicted her last week on a charge of unlawful possession and barter and disposal of a stolen firearm and misuse o a passport for allegedly dumping Hart's gun and passport.

Thief steals flag from man in chicken suit

MANCHESTER, Conn. (AP) — Manchester, Conn., police are investigating the theft of an American flag from a man in a chicken suit.

The Hartford Courant reports (http://cour.at/ML9gUJ ) that Eric Didio was waving the flag and dancing outside a newly renovated Boston Market restaurant Wednesday as part of his job, when a man jumped from a car, grabbed the flag and took off.

A customer who witnessed the theft called police.

The newspaper reports that the dispatcher had a hard time relaying the call to officers, breaking into laughter while trying to say “chicken suit.”

Nathan Atwood, the restaurant's general manager, says he stood beside the 23-year-old Didio for the rest of his shift to provide security.

No arrests have been made.

Alleged ring thieves can’t stay away

Two Western Washington residents in Coeur d'Alene for just three days were arrested for theft after returning to the victim store the next day, according to police.

  Jeffrey M. Platt, 43, and Alyson M. O'Hara, 37, are accused of stealing three rings from the Wiggett Antique Market Place at 115 S. 4th St., on Monday.

The store owner checked surveillance tapes and noted a man taking the rings from the cabinet. She'd seen him and a woman in the store the previous day.

The duo apparently couldn't stay away. The owner called police Wednesday and said they just walked in. Police arrested them there and determined they'd sold the rings to Moneytree in Coeur d'Alene on Monday.

They were booked into jail on a burglary charge.

Neighbor’s call leads to meth, 2 arrests

A report of a burglary at a vacant home in near Holy Cross Cemetery in north Spokane Tuesday led deputies to arrest two people and seize a methamphetamine and a backpack stolen in a vehicle prowling last March.

Christine Lorrain Blumenshein, 40, and Robert K. Schulte, 30, were arrested at a home in the 7000 block of North Normandie Street after a neighbor reported a suspicious vehicle parked near the home, which had recently been purchased, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office said today.

The neighbor said he saw a man and woman exit the car and walk toward the home, then saw a short while later that the back gate was open.

Blumeshein had a small metal cap with methamphetamine in her hand when she was handcuffed, deputies say.

Deputies also found a tool bag and backpack on the floor of the home that contained snips, tools and 17 key chains with keys to Ford vehicles. A name written on the backpack in black marker linked it to the victim of a vehicle prowling on March 17.

The two were booked into jail for first-degree criminal trespass. Blumenshein also faces a meth possession charge.
  

AG’s office warns of magazine scam

Here's a news release from Deputy Craig Chamberlin, spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff's Office:

On Monday, June 4th, 2012, the Liberty Lake Police Department Contacted a magazine company called Strickly Business 1.  The company was attempting to sell magazine subscriptions door to door without a license and was issued criminal citations for Soliciting Without a License.  Salesman told Liberty Lake Officers they recently came from the Seattle area.
 
These types of magazine sales companies have surfaced in Spokane County several times in the past couple months.  Investigators from the Better Business Bureau have warned consumers that these types of companies are required to be registered with the Secretary of The State's Office and required to obtain a business license for such types of sales.
 
These types of companies have gained the attention of Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, whose office sent out the following release:
 
Guess who is back in town?  It’s the door-to-door magazine sellers from out of state who appear on doorsteps claiming outrageously priced subscriptions will help fund “second chance” opportunities for inner city youth.  The Washington Attorney General’s Office has issued warnings about such visitors before, and is again alerting consumers to beware of these solicitors and think twice before buying their magazines.
 
The Attorney General’s Office has received numerous complaints from victimized consumers who paid $50 to $784 for magazine subscriptions purchased from door-to-door sellers.  Consumers say they were touched by the solicitors’ stories and believed their purchases would be for a good cause. Solicitors claim to be earning money for college, working toward a better job, receiving points for a free trip, or contributing proceeds to help homeless youth.
 
“Unfortunately, another common theme is that time and again, consumers throughout the country never receive the magazines they purchased, or hear from the sellers again, and have no idea what happened to their money.” said Attorney General Rob McKenna.
 
Many of these solicitors claim to work for “business or job training” companies that send young adults door to door to give them a “fresh start” on life.  In a recent complaint to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, one seller claimed to represent a company called “Strictly Business.” The consumer did his own checking and found the company was based in Texas. It had a Better Business Bureau rating of “F” for failing to respond to complaints and failing to deliver magazines.
 
“Besides the potential of falling victim to fraud, there are many other risks involved, such as threats to personal safety or the possibility of being a victim of identity theft. It all makes buying items from strangers who knock on your door a bad idea,” added McKenna.
 
Consumers should always check out a charity with the Secretary of State prior to making a donation. A state search engine listing registered charities is available at www.secstate.wa.gov/charities.

    Many of these sales people claim they are raising money for school fundraisers, which is usually not true.  If you are contacted by these types of sales people you are urged to contact the Better Business Bureau at 509-232-0579 to verify the validity of the company

  

Motorcycle sounds help break burglary

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

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

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

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

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

Suspect in prosecutor’s burglary jailed

A man accused of burglarizing a Spokane County deputy prosecutor's garage was arrested for another burglary just eight days after he left jail.

Chance Karl Occhipinti, 42, was free on $3,500 bond when he and a friend broke into a garage in the 1000 block West Maxwell Avenue Saturday afternoon with 34-yera-old Paul Kabrick, who lives in an apartment attached to the garage.

Now he's back in jail on an exceptionally high bond of $75,000 after Superior Court Judge Annette Plese noted his blatant disregard for the conditions she imposed on him should he leave jail, which include committing no further criminal law violations.

A man who owns a home that also shares the garage said Occhipinti and Kabrick urinated and defecated in the building.

Police say Occhipinti admitted to trying to stealing bicycles, a tool box and a speaker from the garage before he was confronted by a resident. He was arrested for second-degree burglary. 

Occhipinti pleaded not guilty Wednesday to four felony charges related to an alleged burglary at Deputy Prosecutor Larry Steinmetz's garage on April 30. Steinmetz attended the arraignment.

The case is being handled by a prosecutor for the city of Spokane, Mary Chavez-Muramatsu, because the victim is county prosecutor. Occhipinti is charged with second-degree burglary, possession of methamphetamine, possession of burglary tools and resiting arrest for allegedly fleeing when Steinmetz tried to apprehend him.

Chavez-Muramatsu added an aggravating factor to the burglary charge because Steinmetz was present when it occurred.

“Both situations could have been far more dangerous,” she said of Steinmetz's case and the most recent one.

She said Occhipinti told police he'd committed 12 other burglaries in the eight days since he left jail.

Ohio woman broke into house to clean

ELYRIA, Ohio (AP) — Police in suburban Cleveland say a woman who owns a cleaning service broke into a house and washed the dishes, took out the trash, and vacuumed before leaving a handwritten bill with her name on it.

And police say it might not be the first time.

The woman, Sue Warren of Elyria, is in jail on a burglary charge.

Police in Westlake say Warren broke into a home last week and began tidying up, but she didn't take anything. They say she then wrote out a bill for $75 on a napkin and included her name and address.

One officer says Warren told him she does it all the time.

A call to Warren's cleaning business was not answered Thursday. It's not immediately known if she has an attorney.

Girlfriend of alleged serial burglar jailed

The girlfriend of a suspected serial burglar was arrested today for her alleged role in the spree.

Tawnya Ann Werre, 43, joins her boyfriend, Dean Michael Blackford, in the Spokane County Jail, where Blackford (pictured) has been since his arrest April 24.

Investigators believe Werre is involved in an April 4 burglary at a home in Valleyford in which three young girls hid in a bedroom as a man broke in the front door and ransacked the home. Police believe that man was Blackford.

The case prompted Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, flanked by victim homeowner and mother Melissa Bambock, to announce a new initiative with prosecutors and Spokane police to try to combat property crime, despite dwindling resources.

Blackford, 50, told detectives he burglarized at least 20 homes to fund his methamphetamine addiction.

Detectives believe Werre sold stolen goods at pawn shops. They also believe she helped Blackford burglarize at least some of the homes.

Werre has 10 felony convictions including forgery, theft and drug charges. She was booked into jail today on charges eight counts of residential burglary, five counts of first-degree theft, three counts of second-degree theft, and single counts of second-degree burglary, theft of a firearm, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, first-degree trafficking in stolen property and possession of methamphetamine.

Blackford has pleaded not guilty to his charges and remains in jail awaiting trial.

Investigators arrested seven others while searching three locations connected to Blackford just after his arrest. Read more here.

3 linked to 24 Spokane Co. burglaries

Sheriff's investigators believe they've solved 24 residential burglaries in the Spokane County area. 

Members of the Burglary Task Force are recommending 64 felony charges be filed against suspects Jessica L. Davis, 25; Randle “Kyle Phelps, 29; and Jay M. Shippy, 23.

Davis, the alleged ring leader, faces a charge of leading organized crime.

Shippy (pictured) already faces a residential burglary charge for an arrest in April. He was allowed to leave jail on his own recognizance earlier this month, but detectives arrested him again Wednesday on the new burglary charge.

Phelps and Davis are jailed in Bonner County after being arrested there Friday. Davis reportedly told a detective they had moved north and were afraid to burglarize homes in Spokane County because of the recent surge in property crime arrests here.

The charges recommended to the prosecutor's office include residential burglary, theft of a firearm and trafficking in stolen property.

Burglary suspects ‘afraid’ of task force

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Man gets 10+ years for home robbery

A Spokane man has been sentenced to about 10 years in prison for a gunpoint robbery last year.

Jeremy L. Standon, 30, has an extensive criminal history that includes convictions for first-degree robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm, money laundering, drug possession, second-degree identity theft, first-degree burglary, theft of a firearm.

He recorded his second first-degree robbery conviction - and second strike under the state's three-strikes-and-you're-out law - when he pleaded guilty in late April. Now he's headed to prison on a 129-month sentence that will include credit for 364 days already served in jail after being sentenced this week in Spokane County Superior Court.

Co-defendant John Gibson Dean, 30, is awaiting trial. He was arrested earlier this month after a couple months as a fugitive.

Police say Dean and Standon robbed three people of money, jewelry and electronics after being allowed inside the home at 1415 N. Post St. May 9, 2011. Police paid a confidential informant $100 for information that helped identify the men.

Suspected serial burglar gets 9 years

One of two brothers suspected in a series of Spokane County burglaries has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

Donald G. Myhren, 30, pleaded guilty to residential burglary for a break-in last year and was sentenced this week to 108 months. He still faces additional robbery and burglary charges for break-ins at home this spring, along with his brother, Dustin J. Myhren, 26.

The men were out of jail awaiting trial for last year's case when detectives arrested them for the new burglaries in April. Investigators reviewing burglary reports noticed that the description of suspects in a series of Spokane County burglaries matched the brothers, and that a suspect vehicle was registered at their address.

They've both been jailed on $250,000 bond ever since and are scheduled to begin trial July 16 for the latest burglaries, some of which included the theft of sports cards.

Donald Myhren resolved last year's case Monday in Spokane County Superior Court; Dustin's still is pending.

Jodie Sinclair, whose home was burglarized by the brothers last year said she walked into her home to find one of the brothers running through her living room. The home was ransacked. Her husband chased after the man and his brother “and they in turned pulled a gun to get him to back off,” Sinclair said in an email.

The brothers are accused of again confronting a homeowner at a gunpoint just months ago.

Sinclair said she was disappointed in the sentence and said she hopes the pending robbery and burglary charges will put Myhren away for much longer.

“The material items he took that day can be replaced for the most part,” she said. “But what he stole from us is our sense of security and ability to feel comfortable in our own home.”

Theft victim uploads video of suspect

By DINESH RAMDE,Associated Press
MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Wisconsin man whose camcorder was briefly stolen has found a way to get back at the suspected thief: He uploaded to YouTube a video that the suspect took with the camera, a clip in which the man reveals his name, shows his face and admits he stole the camera.

Chris Rochester, 25, of La Crosse, said his camera was stolen a few weeks ago from the car of his boss, Republican state Senate candidate Bill Feehan. Police eventually arrested the suspect and returned the camera to Rochester, who set it aside.

Then, when Gov. Scott Walker made a recent visit to La Crosse, Rochester used the camera to film the event. When he went back to retrieve the video, he found 20 other segments the suspect apparently recorded.

Most were uneventful, generally 15- to 20-second clips of television screens. But one video caught Rochester's eye.

“This is my house, yes, and a stolen camera that I stole. But it's OK, the cop won't figure it out,” the suspect says in the 79-second video, as he pans around a home and points out the kitchen and bathroom. Later he adds, “Oh yeah, to introduce you, my name is Houaka Yang. So yeah, how do you do.”

Finally, he turns the camera to reveal his face and says with a smile, “And this is me. Hi.”

The 20-year-old Yang was scheduled to make an initial appearance in court Wednesday, but the judge recused himself because he knew one of the victims. A new court date wasn't immediately scheduled.

Yang was charged with two counts of being party to misdemeanor theft and one misdemeanor count of carrying a concealed weapon. The charges carry a maximum penalty of two years and three months in jail and a $30,000 fine.

A message left with Yang's public defender Wednesday was not immediately returned.

Rochester said he almost disregarded the videos on his camera, thinking maybe he'd accidentally hit the 'record' button.

“Then it hit me pretty quickly as to what it was,” he said. “I was astounded. I was like, 'Wow, I can't believe this.'”

Yang was already in custody, but Rochester decided to have fun with the video by sharing it with friends. So he uploaded it to YouTube under the title “Confessions of a stupid criminal: Thief is sure he won't get caught.”

As reporters began asking him about the video he began to realize it was more entertaining than he first thought, he said.

Police recovered the videocamera after investigating a number of other thefts in the area. Rochester said he didn't think Feehan had been targeted as a Republican political candidate.

Security videos at Feehan's home showed two suspects rifling through the car in his driveway. Investigators showed the footage to officials at a local high school, who identified one suspect, La Crosse police Sgt. Randy Rank said. The 14-year-old in turn identified Yang, he said.

Rank said police weren't concerned that Rochester uploaded the video even though Yang's case is still pending.

“It's his recorder, those are his images on there,” Rank said. “I don't see an issue with it.”

International women’s bike racing returns to Boise, in a big way…

After what Exergy Tour communications director Heather Hill called “a little bit of an unexpected glitch here on the first day” - the theft and then recovery, apparently unscathed, of $120,000 worth of racing bikes and equipment from one of the teams - the event is on. “We are humbled to be hosting over 100 athletes representing 18 of their home countries, many of whom will represent their home nations in the Olympic games this summer,” Hill declared. She said the women's bike race is aimed at “raising the bar” for women's sports. “Our $100,000 prize purse, the largest for a ladies' five-stage race in the history of the sport, is one example of raising the bar.”

Steve Johnson, president and CEO of USA Cycling, the organization responsible for identifying, training and selecting cyclists to represent the United States in international competition, called the Boise women's cycling race “an exceptional event.” Idaho hosted the Women's Challenge from 1984 to 2002; this year's event marks the return of high-level women's bicycle racing to the state. “This is probably one of the biggest and most exciting women's bike racing events in the world this year,” Johnson said. “You have some of the greatest … cyclists in the world here. You don't have to go to London. It's a great opportunity to see the top level of women's professional bike racing right here in Idaho.”

The race starts tomorrow with the Prologue, an evening time trial starting from and finishing at Julia Davis Park in downtown Boise, running from there to the Boise Depot and back, and starting at 6:30 p.m. That'll be followed by a road race starting from the Nampa Rec Center on Friday at 11 a.m.; an individual time trial in Kuna on Saturday; a 59.7-mile road race from Garden Valley to Idaho City on Sunday; and a final 46.7-mile road race Monday at 11 a.m. starting and finishing at Hyde Park in Boise, and looping up and through the Boise foothills. Spectators are welcome at all the events; there are details online at exergytour.com. The public also is invited tonight to festivities in the Grove in downtown Boise, starting with live music at 5 p.m., a “Walk to London” event led by Olympians and Paralympians, and the team presentation at 7 p.m.

Among those racing are Boise Olympic cycling medalist Kristin Armstrong and U.S. rivals Amber Neben and Evelyn Stevens, all three of whom are competing for two spots on the U.S. Time Trial team at this summer's Olympics in London. AP reporter John Miller has a full report here on the competition. Stevens, 29, is nearly a decade younger than her two rivals. “I found the sport of cycling a little bit later in life,” she said today. At the age of “25 or 26,” she said, while working as an investment banker at Lehman Brothers on Wall Street, she started off riding a bike in Central Park. At last year's U.S. championships, Stevens won, with Neben second and Armstrong third. But Armstrong has beat Stevens in time trials three times this year; she holds the 2008 Olympic gold medal in the time trial, and was world champion in 2006 and 2009. Neben was world time trial champion in 2008.

Also racing are six-time German champion Daniela Glass; current road world champion Giorgia Bronzini of Italy; 2011 Swiss national road champion Pascale Schnider; British 2008 Olympic gold medalist in the road race Nicole Cooke; Australian national road race champion Alexis Rhodes; Swedish national time trial champion Emilia Fahlin; current German road-race champion Ina-Yoko Teutenberg; three-time Australian national time trial champion Shara Gillow; and many more.
  

All stolen racing bikes safely recovered

Boise Mayor David Bieter kicked off the opening press conference of the Exergy Tour with some good news that was heartily welcomed by the assembled athletes: “I'm happy to report that all of the bikes have been found,” Bieter said. “They are in good shape, and the team will have their bikes to ride on.” He said, “Our kudos to the Police Department.”

Boise Police reported that the stolen racing bikes from Team TIBCO were recovered in three locations on the BSU campus, and appear to be undamaged. Their investigation into the theft continues.

Citizen tip led to recovery of six of 14 stolen racing bikes

The Boise Police say six of the professional racing bikes reported stolen from an Exergy Tour team this morning have been recovered by officers on the 1300 block of University Drive, locked together to a bike rack. BPD credited the recovery to a citizen tip, from a citizen who recognized that the bikes looked like those in pictures of the stolen property. There are still eight valuable racing bikes missing that racers need to compete; read the BPD's full update here.
  

Police bust burglary suspect in 4 hours

A burglary suspect was arrested within four hours thanks to an alert neighbor and quick-responding Spokane police property crimes detectives.

A resident called 911 about 11 a.m. Tuesday to report a burglary in progress in the 700 block of North Elgin Street. The neighbor described the burglary as well as a suspicious red Toyota 4Runner.

The descriptions were broadcast to officers, and property crime Detective Crystal Jolley recognized the 4Runner as matching a vehicle used by Tyler B. Morlan in a previous burglary. Jolley responded to Morlan's apartment and spotted the 4Runner.

Patrol officers stopped the vehicle as it left the apartment complex, and Morlan, whose 20th birthday is Friday, was booked into jail for residential burglary and possession of heroin about 3:15 p.m.

Police say he's been arrested at least six times since 2007. He has one felony and six gross misdemeanor convictions.

Police expect more charges to come from this invention, which is ongoing. They also predict a decrease in property crime with Morlan behind bars.
  

Police say they’ve recovered 6 of 14 bikes stolen from race team

Boise Police now say they've recovered six of the 14 professional racing bikes stolen last night from a women's professional cycling team in town for the Exergy Tour, which starts tomorrow; KTVB-TV has a report here. The Idaho Statesman reports here that the six recovered bikes were found locked together on the BSU campus.

Bike theft ‘huge blow to the team’

The Exergy Tour has sent out the following statement on last night's theft of expensive professional bikes and equipment from one of the competing teams; the photo shows an example of what the bikes look like:

Last night several thousand dollars worth of bikes and pro cycling equipment was stolen from the Team TIBCO trailer in a Boise hotel parking lot. The team is in Idaho to compete in the Exergy Tour ladies pro cycling race. Below are the statements from Boise Mayor David Bieter, Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson, Exergy Development Group CEO James Carkulis, and Team TIBCO regarding this event.

STATEMENT FROM BOISE MAYOR DAVE BIETER

“I was angry and deeply disappointed when I learned of the theft of the bikes and equipment from Team Tibco last night. This is not the kind of community we live in and not the kind of welcome we want to extend to visitors for this wonderful Exergy Tour event. These are specialized racing bikes branded with the team’s logo; they’re of absolutely no use to anyone except the riders to whom they belong. I’m asking any members of the public who might have information regarding this crime to help us in securing the return of this equipment so that everyone can enjoy this great competition.”

 STATEMENT FROM BOISE POLICE CHIEF MIKE MASTERSON

“Crimes like this, which target a public event, don’t just hurt the victims; they hurt the entire community. Fortunately this kind of theft is rare in Boise, but that makes this particular incident all the more upsetting. Our detectives are working hard to track down the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice, and Crime Stoppers has pledged a reward of $1,000 for the return of the Team Tibco equipment, and the Mayor’s Office is in for another $1,000. As always, members of the public are the best partners of law enforcement in solving crimes like this, so I echo the Mayor’s plea and ask citizens to call 343-COPS (343-2677) if they have any information that might be helpful.”

STATEMENT FROM EXERGY DEVELOPMENT GROUP CEO, JAMES CARKULIS

“The Boise Police Department and the Office of the Mayor are working feverishly to apprehend these thieves and recover the equipment. Exergy is doing everything possible to make sure the teams will be on track to race tomorrow evening at the Prologue. This places a pallor over the event well before the start of such a positive experience for these athletes and for the sport.  We know these athletes are strong willed and determined and we shall find a way for them to compete.” 

STATEMENT FROM TIBCO – TO THE TOP

“Last night the Team TIBCO trailer van was broken into at a race hotel parking lot in Boise, Idaho.  14 bikes have been stolen, including six Specialized Time Trial Shivs and eight Specialized Amira bikes.  These bikes were top end race bikes, built with top of the line SRAM components.  The time trial bikes specifically are very unique and should be easily identifiable.  Our Reynolds wheels were stolen as well, including our time trial Element Discs and very special RZR 46s and 92s.  These wheels are also very unique and are not easily available.

“This is a huge blow to the team.  On the performance side, our riders now have to compete in the most important stage race in the country without their Specialized/SRAM /Reynolds time trial equipment.  The financial side is equally crippling.  Women’s cycling teams do not have big budgets.   This loss has a huge impact on the team’s financial health.

“We were really looking forward to the resurrection of stage racing in Idaho with Exergy Tour.  The team’s founder fondly remembers Idaho from the legendary Ore-Ida/Hewlett Packard Stage Race days.  This is not the Idaho that she remembers.  We are hopeful that the community can help us recover these bikes quickly so that our athletes can perform to the best of their ability in this important UCI race leading up to the Olympics.

“We thank George’s Cycles in Boise Idaho, who has offered a $500 reward for information leading to the safe return of our equipment, and we will match that amount. We also thank Exergy for contributing another $1,000 to the reward, bringing the total to $2,000. Please help us recover our equipment.”

Boise Police ask for help to find racing bikes stolen from elite women cyclists in town for Exergy Tour

A trailer-full of racing bikes belonging to a team of bike racers from California competing in the inaugural Exergy Tour, a professional women's bike racing event that kicks off in Boise tomorrow, were stolen when thieves broke a lock on the team's bike trailer parked outside their Boise hotel last night, and Boise Police are asking people to watch for the distinctive bicycles,which are marked with distinctive white TIBCO team logos and are valued at $120,000. The bikes are Specialized brand carbon fiber racing bikes; you can see the full BPD new release here, including photos of the bicycles. The bike wheels are Reynolds brand carbon fiber arrow style wheels painted black, with bold, white REYNOLDS lettering.

Sixteen teams from nine countries are competing in the Exergy Tour, which starts tomorrow and runs through Monday. They include many of the top women cyclists in the world, including athletes who are vying for spots on their respective Olympic teams for this summer's Olympics in London. Click below for a full report on the bike theft from AP reporter John Miller, who reports that the theft victims include Olympic hopefuls.
  

Serial theft suspect charged, again

The suspected leader of a burglary ring that victimized homes in the Spokane area has been charged by prosecutors.

 Randall T. Smeltzer, 33, is to be arraigned May 30 on burglary, theft and meth charges. He's accused of burglarizing a home in the 3500 block of South Fancher in October, but police believe he's responsible for many more break ins. Detectives have been investigating him since last fall and served a search warrant at his home on East Thurston Avenue in November, where they recovered stolen property.

Samuel J. Aldrich, 29, also is accused of burglarizing the home. Jessica M. Staggs, 27, told police she was in the car when the men broke into the home, according to court documents.She pawned stolen jewelry at four stores after the burglary, police say.

Police say Aldrich admitted to kicking in he home's back door and helping Smeltzer carry a TV and jewelry box from the home. Staggs also is charged in a car and fuel theft case from April 11, along with Robert M. Shore and Artem G. Kuznetsov.

Even after police began investigating him, Smeltzer's alleged crime spree continued. He's charged with third-degree retail theft for an incident at the North Colton WalMart on March 28. He also faces stolen property and possession of a stolen motor vehicle charges for a case from November.

Police say Donnelle C Velasquez, 41, also is connected to the thefts. She's charged with Aldrich in a case from January involving an alleged counterfeit check and identity theft ring with 14 defendants.

‘Secret Shopper’ loses $1,000 in fraud

Authorities are reminding people to be cautious when responding to purported “Secret Shopper” and other offers through email or phone after a Spokane Valley woman lost nearly $1,000.

The woman told a sheriff's deputy on Monday that she responded to an email asking if she would like to participate in the Secret Shopper program. She received a FedEx envelope on May 11 with a money order for $980, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

She also received an email explaining that she was to deposit the money order into her bank account, withdraw $805 and send it via Western Union to Tony Adams at 40 Arsene Rd., Quezon City, Manila.  She was told to keep $175.

The woman's bank notified her on May 19 that the money order was no good and that she was responsible for the $980. She received additional money orders in her mailbox that day with instructions to send money to Johnnie Swift in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Mike Michon in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Joe Cole from Novi, Michigan.

$40k in copper stripped from building

About $40,000 worth of copper was stolen from a business in Spokane Valley last weekend.

A manager of a building in the 4600 block of East Sprague Avenue that's used as a trailer storage told a sheriff's deputy on Monday that he noticed insulation on the floor on Saturday but assumed it was because of the age of the building.

But when he returned on Monday, he saw electrical wire missing from the ceiling and realized all copper wiring inside the walls and ceiling of the building had been stolen. All copper piping in the building was missing as well.

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

Women arrested in Oxycodone fraud

Two women are accused of trying to obtain the powerful prescription painkiller Oxycodone through fraudulent prescriptions Sunday night at a Spokane Valley pharmacy.

Police were called about 6 p.m. after a pharmacist at a store in the 13400 block of East Sprague Avenue realizing a prescription attempting to be filled by Justine A. Diaz, 22, was written on a pad that had been reported stolen through the Spokane Pharmacy Association, and that a woman matching Diaz' description had tried to fill the stolen prescriptions Saturday night at several Albertsons pharmacies, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office said tdoay.

Diaz and Crystal A. Russell, 24, were detained after deputies arrived at the pharmacy and saw Russell, who was “visibly nervous” try to walk away with Diaz.

The pharmacist told deputies Diaz tried to fill a prescription in another name that she said belonged to a friend who had been in a collision. Diaz reportedly said she would pay cash because her friend did not have health insurance, according to the sheriff's office.

Deputies say Diaz refused to speak to deputies and Russell said she had no idea the prescriptions were stolen and forged, the sheriff's office said.

Russell was booked into jail on a charge of controlled substance conspiracy and Diaz was booked on charges of prescription fraud and second-degree possession of stolen property.

A man and woman were arrested in a similar case in Spokane Valley last week.

Metal theft nets $250k restitution

A man who stole metal as part of a licensed business has been ordered to pay about $250,000 in restitution.

 Tristan M. Goiri-Christensen, 26, a former Crime Stoppers fugitive, pleaded guilty last week to first-degree theft and eight counts of first-degree trafficking in stolen property and was credited for a day already spent in jail.

He's to be on probation for a year. Goiri-Christensen is part of a band of suspected metal thieves who created a Spokane-based business, complete with licenses from the Washington Department of Revenue, to get around state laws designed to discourage theft by making it tougher for individuals to sell stolen metal to scrap yards.

The state exempts licensed businesses from the mandatory 10-day waiting period for payments of over $30 on scrap metal sold to recyclers. The thefts cost Avista Utilties thousands of dollars. Read more here.

Swallowed jewel: This, too, shall pass

WINDSOR, Ontario (AP) — Police in Canada say they are waiting for a man accused of stealing a $20,000 diamond and swallowing it to produce the evidence.

It has been nearly a week since Richard Mackenzie Matthews, 52, is alleged to have switched a diamond at Precision Jewellers in Ontario and swallowed the real one.

Matthews is being held at police headquarters while investigators wait for the 1.7-carat stone to pass through his system. Sgt. Brett Corey said Thursday that Matthews has gone to the washroom numerous times, but the diamond hasn't passed.

Corey says a recent X-ray showed a pair of fake diamonds, or cubic zirconiums, stuck in the man's intestines but because a diamond is translucent, it isn't visible. He says the suspect is eager to get the ordeal over with and is co-operating.

In the early stages, Corey says Matthews was being given laxative type foods, but is now being fed whatever he wants, in an effort to get things moving.

Matthews is charged with theft and breach of court conditions, and is also wanted on warrants in Toronto

J. Bieber arrested in Spokane

A Spokane woman is accused of stealing from a man who let her use his bathroom while helping her jump her car.

Jennifer Mae Bieber, alias Christensen, was arrested Tuesday after a Spokane Valley police detective revisited the theft report from January and developed probable cause to charge her with fist-degree trafficking in stolen property.

Bieber, 30, is accused of selling a battery charger she stole from a Good Samaritan in January.  The victim saw that Bieber was unable to start her Pontiac Grand Am after a traffic stop near 811 S. Union Road and offered to assist her with jumper cables, a battery charger and a his Cadillac.

The man said Bieber used the bathroom then was instructed to quickly leave by her male companion. The victim discovered his house keys and car keys missing, then discovered his garage entered and a snow blower missing a couple days later.

He identified Bieber from a photo montage last month. Detectives discovered Bieber pawned the battery charger at Axel's Pawn the day it was sotlen, which led to the felony charge.

2 arrested for burglary in Valley

Sheriff's deputies arrested two men on suspicion of burglary Wednesday after a neighbor called to report two suspicious men in the backyard of a home.

Jimmie Matthew Allen, 34, and Mark Alan Short, 41, were arrested in the 5200 block of North Kenney Road after deputies arrived at the home and saw two back doors open and heard noise inside the home, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Allen exited the home and was arrested. Short initially refused to exit but did so after sheriff's K-9 Ekko arrived.
Members of the Spokane County Sheriff's Office Burglary Task Force interviewed the suspects and concluded they were burglarizing the home when deputies arrived.

Task force members found evidence from the burglary at Allen's home, which is near the victim's home.
The victim homeowner responded to Allen's home and identified property stolen from her home, according to the sheriff's office.

The investigation is ongoing; more suspects are expected to be charged.

Allen and Short were booked into jail for residential burglary and Allen also faces a charge of possession of methamphetamine.
  

2 arrested on drug fraud charges in Valley

Two suspected prescription drug forgers were arrested Monday night after a chase with police in Spokane Valley.

Employees at a pharmacy in the 15700 block of East Broadway Avenue told police about 8:45 p.m. Monday that a woman attempted to fill an Oxycodone prescription written on a pad that had been reported stolen from a doctor's office, but left when she was told they would need to verify the prescription with the doctor, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies spotted a woman and man running through the parking lot and detained them for questioning. Nicole Wright, 27, said she was filling a prescription for a friend, but deputies cold find no record of the friend's name.

The other suspect, Coby Adams, 33, stepped on a scrap of paper that fell out of his pocket and slid it under a patrol car, but deputies retrieved it and discovered it was “the same stolen prescriptions Wright presented at the pharmacy, all for Oxycodone, all prescribed to Wright,” according to a news release.

Wright and Adams were booked into jail on charges of prescription fraud and second-degree possession of stolen property.