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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.

CdA cops seek tips on storage unit thefts

Coeur d'Alene police are asking for help identifying thieves who broke into storage units on North Atlas Road last month.

Employees at Coeur d'Alene Place Self Storage, 5850 N. Atlas Road., reported April 28 that several locks had been cut from storage units throughout the complex, police said today.

Survellance video shows three men in hooded sweatshirts and dark clothing walk through the proprety just before midnight. The men walked around until 4:30 a.m. and appear to cut locks with a bolt cutter on several occassions, according to police.

Employees beleive the thieves cut a chain link fence to acess the building. They discovered several RVs that had been damaged and burglarized.

A surveillence image of two of the thieves was released today.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Coeur d’Alene Police Department at (208) 769-2320.

Tire store employee walks up on theft

A tire store employee wary of recent thefts and a suspicious truck parked near the business led sheriff's deputies to a theft and drug suspect and a stolen vehicle from Lincoln County.

The employee saw two tires being placed into the bed of the truck from a trailer parked next to it, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

He told a man and woman walking from the trailer that he'd called police; neither said anything as they walked in separate directions.

Deputy R. Truman responded and saw the man walking on Stevens Street. The man provided a false name, but Truman identified him as Mark Alan Gregory, 51. Gregory told Truman he had a warrant out for his arrest, and he was right. Gregory was arrested on the warrant for possession of a controlled substance and said he'd been at the tire business with his a friend to steal tires, the sheriff's office said.

Gregory also told Truman “there is some meth in my pocket.  I found it on the ground.  It's not mine,” according to the sheriff's office. Truman found a small bag in Gregory's front pocket containing meth.

He was booked into jail on the warrant, a new meth charge and new charges of possession of a stolen vehicle and third-degree theft.

Jailer catches vehicle prowling suspect

A corrections deputy caught a man prowling a county-owned vehicle early Saturday outside the jail, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Suspect David Allen Mackin, 21, was arrested after Deputy Mark Sprecher saw him getting out of a county vehicle parked about 4:10 a.m. in a lot on the east side of the jail, where Sprecher had just finished his shift.

Mackin ran east toward Monroe Street, but Sprecher followed him in his vehicle and caught up with him in the YMCA parking lot on the east side of Monroe Street near the Public Safety Building.

Sprecher told the Mackin he was a sheriff's employee, called 911 and stayed with the suspect until police arrived.

Mackin was booked into jail on a charge of second-degree vehicle prowling. He was released alter that morning on his own recognizance per a judge's order.
  

City worker helps nab theft suspect

A city water department employee led police to two burglary suspects recently when he took a cellphone photo of the license plate of a suspicious vehicle.

Lawrence Tieken saw the 1995 Ford flat-bed truck parked at a City of Spokane pump house at North Havana Street and East Wellesley Avenue last Monday, then observed a younger man and woman exit the roof access of the pump house.

Thousands of dollars in copper wire was missing from the pump house.

Tieken took photos of the culprits, but they covered their faces just in time. But he was able to photograph the truck's rear license plate.

Police identified the truck's owner, and the Patrol Anti-Crime Team identified Cody A. Cabo, 19, as an associate.

Cabo was contacted Wednesday in the 3900 block of North Market Street after citizens reported a man on drugs. He admitted to the burglary, according to court documents, and said “Hillyard girl” named Nicky told him the pump house was filled with metal and copper, which can be sold at recycling centers.

Cabo faces charges of second-degree burglary and malicious mischief.

Deputy prosecutor finds felon in garage

A man arrested for burglary Tuesday night is accused of breaking into the garage of a Spokane County deputy prosecutor.

 Larry Steinmetz, who prosecutes felonies, arrive at his home April 30 about 4:30 p.m. to find a man inside his garage. The man identified himself as Chance before fleeing the scene, according to Spokane Police.

Steinmetz identified Chance K. Occhipinti, 42, (pictured) in a photo montage Monday, and the Spokane police Patrol Anti-Crime Team arrested the suspect Tuesday near East Jackson Avenue and North Hamilton Street for second-degree burglary.

He briefly struggled with officers before he was arrested, police say. Officers found bolt cutters and other burglary-related items in his backpack. He also had a methamphetamine pipe with him, police say.

Occhipinti then wrote a letter of apology to Stenimetz that included details from the burglary, according to court documents.

Occhipinti has eight felony convictions including for drugs, burglary and theft-related crimes.

2 arrested in Garland District SWAT raid

Investigators seized stolen property and drugs and arrested two men today while serving a search warrant at a home in the West Garland District.

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office Burglary Task Force and Investigative Task Force developed information that stolen property and drugs were being trafficked out of a home in the 400 block of West Kiernan Avenue after a “lengthy investigation,” according to a news release.

A SWAT team helped secure the home.

Nathan Carter, 29 was arrested for second-degree possession of stolen property, first-degree trafficking in stolen property and possession of heroin.

Jeffrey Jennings, 32, was arrested for possession of meth and heroin and second-degree possession of stolen property, as well as a warrant for drunken driving.

Seized stolen property includes electrical musical instruments, multiple laptop computers, overhead projectors and other electronic components. Some of the items were matched to theft reports through serial numbers, but many will need additional follow up by investigators to identify.
  

2 burglary suspects arrested in Valley

Two suspected burglars were arrested at a Spokane Valley home Monday after a neighbor called 911 because she didn't recognize them.

Steven Edward Cunningham, 56, and Jasmine Owens, 37, were contacted inside a home in the area of 7100 E. 3rd Ave. Deputies saw a circuit break box torn apart and copper wire lying on the floor.

Cunningham said the homeowner told him he could take the box and use it in his home, but he gave four names for the homeowner when asked, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. Deputy Matt Gould called the homeowner and confirmed the pair did not have permission to be in the home.

A neighbor had already called the homeowner to report the suspicious people. The homeowner instructed the neighbor to call 911.

Cunningham and Owens were arrested for residential burglary.

Report of burglars in Jetta leads to arrests

Reports of two burglars escaping in a 2004 Volkswagen Jetta led sheriff's deputies to arrest three people recently, including a convicted sex offender. 

Deputies located the Jetta parked outside a North Division Street pawn shop shortly after the burglary was reported Sunday in the 7800 block of North Hughes Drive in unincorporated Spokane County, according to the Sheriff's Office.

They stopped the car and identified the driver as Pete Huckaby, 40, who was with Chelsey Loe, 39. Both suspects are accused of trying to sell items stolen in the burglary at the pawn shop.

The duo led deputies to the area of 50 E. Crown Ave., where Joshua Clint Epperson, 32, (pictured) a level was arrested for his alleged role in the burglary.

Sheriff's officials describe Epperson as a “well-known local criminal suspect listed as a repeat offender.”

Court records show he was convicted of third-degree rape of a child in 2003. He also has conviction for indecent liberties.

Detectives served a search warrant at the Crown Avenue home and recovered thousands of dollars in property stolen in the burglary that was returned to the owner. Property suspected to have been stolen in other burglaries also was recovered, according to the sheriff's office.

Huckaby faces charges of residential burglary and first-degree trafficking in stolen property. Epperson faces charges of residential burglary and second-degree escape and Loe faces a charge of second-degree trafficking in stolen property.

Reward for tips on licensed theft suspect

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to the arrest of an accused metal thief who was part of a licensed business.

Tristan M. Goiri-Christensen, 26, is wanted on a $20,000 warrant after skipping a pre-trial conference April 27. He was scheduled to begin trial Monday on theft and stolen property charges.

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.

Goiri-Christensen and four others are accused of stealing thousands of pounds of power lines from Avista Utilities and selling the copper wire to fuel their drug habits. The stolen metal meant a massive payday in the thousands of dollars. A business license meant it came instantly. And it was easy to obtain. Read more here.

Goiri-Christensen, 6-foot-3 and 320 pounds, last gave an address in the 300 block of East Rockwell Avenue in Spokane.

Anyone with information on his current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Burglary suspect picks wrong pawn shop

A burglary suspect was arrested Tuesday after a sheriff's detective recognized him at a Spokane pawn shop.

Detective Justin Elliot was at Goldbay at 1505 N. Ash St., when he saw Christopher J. Steinbaugh enter the store and receive $115 from the owner.

Elliot recognized Steinbaugh as a suspect in a burglary being investigated by Deputy Eric Epperson. The shop's owner told Elliot that Steinbaugh had sold jewelry at the store the previous day and had come back in to receive the rest of his payment.

Elliot followed Steinbaugh from the store and called Epperson, who confirmed Steinbaugh still was wanted for burglary. Elliot also learned Steinbaugh's license was suspended. Deputies responded and arrested Steinbaugh near a home at 1211 N. Oak St.

Elliot returned to Goldbay and seized the items Steinbaugh  had sold there as possible evidence of burglary and stolen property trafficking.

The Ford Explorer Steinbaugh was driving had a stolen license plate.

Deputies responded to the Oak Street home that was associated with Steinbaugh. There, they arrested Brian R. Vavra, 35, on suspicion of threats to kill and discovered a money clip on him that matched a clip Steinbaugh had sold at Goldbay.

That led deputies to obtain a search warrant for the residence. A 7-year-old girl was taken into protective custody by CPS.  Deputies also seized suspected stolen property.

Steinbaugh, who has previous felony convictions for identity theft, was booked into jail on a residential burglary charge. He could face more charges. He was arrested in March for meth possession after a police chase.

Recently released thief arrested again

A convicted thief released from jail earlier this month was arrested Saturday after a citizen spotted him break into a car.

Nicholas F. Zielke, 19, told police he didn't know why someone was trying to pick a fight with him at the Conoco gas station at North Ash Street and West Indiana Avenue, but police say two men confronted Zielke after he was spotted prowling a car.

One of the men chased Ziekle as he dropped a box stolen from the car, according to police.

Spokane police Sgt. Steve Braun noticed the men about to fight and stopped them, then arrested Ziekle.

Officer Aaron Kirby found a bag of meth in Zielke's pocket, according to court documents. Zielke then spit on Kirby, which led to a third-degree assault charge, police say.

Zielke pleaded guilty April 11 to third-degree retail theft and was credited for 25 days already spent in jail. The charge stemmed from three theft arrests at Spokane three department stores.
  

Passed-out driver nets 6 felony charges

A report of a driver passed out in a running Honda with its trunk open and windows fogged up led to the arrest of a 28-year-old man on six felony charges early Saturday, police said today.

Randy Lee Jensen, Jr., could not tell if he was OK and if he knew where he was parked when deputies contacted him in the area of 6000 E. 9th Ave. about 4 a.m., according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

A homeowner called police to report the vehicle parked in his driveway. He said he didn't know who it belonged to but believed the driver was passed out.

Turns out the Honda had been reported stolen April 22, and Jensen had a warrant for driving on a suspended license.

Deputies found a clear plastic bag with Oxycodone in Jensen's right front jeans pocket. They also found several vehicle registrations, credit cards, driver's licenses, gift cards and military IDs that did not belong to Jensen, the sheriff's office said.

The items were stolen in several vehicle prowlings. Jensen had a shaved key in the ignition, along with a key chain with other shaved keys.

He was booked into jail on six felony identity and theft related charges, as well as the misdemeanor driving warrant. He remains there on $15,750 bond after appearing in court Monday. That includes $5,000 bond for an unrelated car theft case from January.

Serial burglar leads to 7 more arrests

Investigators arrested seven people while searching three locations last week connected to suspected serial burglar Dean M. Blackford.

The properties at 1928 W. Glass Ave., 12607 N. Freya, and 7722 N. Altamontwere identified after detectives talked to Blackford about his burglary ring.

Large amounts of stolen property, from motorcycles to guns to Oxy-Acetylene tanks were located. Detectives seized more than 3 1/2 ounces of meth and some marijuana.

The investigation is ongoing and more charges are expected.

Arrested at the locations for meth possession were Steven R. Vandinter, 41; Lindsey M. Pearson, 22; Kevin M. Heaton, 35; Randy E. Hewson, 25; and Danica M. Wood, 27.

Michael Thorne, 36, was arrested on six felony warrants.

Jesse T.J. Gust, 26, was arrested on a warrant for arson. Gust was identified as a suspect in the arson fire of a truck that was part of a love triangle involving meth addicts.

A man first identified as suspect, Jesse J. Icard, was cleared of wrongdoing and his charges have been dismissed. Witnesses appear to have mistaken Icard for Gust, according to new court documents.

Fiberglass cow statue stolen in CdA

Police in Coeur d'Alene are investigating the theft of a large fiberglass cow statue from outside an antique store.

Jeffrey Gagnon, who owns Paris Flea Market at 1815 N. 4th St., has a broken piece of the cow's tail that can be used to positively identify the statue, Officer Bruce Reed noted in his report.

Gagnon said the red and white statue, which was made in the 1940s, was secured with chains that were bolted to the ground but had been cut. The theft occurred between 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday, Gagnon told police.

Gagnon said the statue was worth about $2,300. He obtained it about two years ago and said it'd be easy for someone to carry it away because it only weights about 70 pounds.

Anyone with information on the theft should call the Coeur d'Alene Police Department at (208) 769-2320.
  

Burglary suspect’s info leads to 3 raids

An ex-con and suspected serial burglar told detectives he spends about $800 to $1,000 each week on methamphetamine.

 New court documents say Dean Michael Blackford, 50, waived his right to remain silent after his arrest Tuesday and admitted to committing 20 to 25 burglaries over the past year to fund he and his girlfriend's drug habit.

He identified three men as his main suppliers of methamphetamine and also told detectives of a home at 1928 E. Glass Ave. where he trades stolen power tools “straight across for dope,” documents say.

Detectives raided that home and two other locations after Blackford's interview. Blackford said he gave his girlfriend, Tawnya Werre, 43, stolen jewelry to sell at pawn shops.

That matches what prolific burglar Susan Burke told detectives about Blackford when she was arrested last week.

Blackford said he last contacted one of his meth dealers Tuesday and obtained new license plates for his Ford Ranger because “I didn't want to get caught,”according to detectives. Blackford said he told the man he planned to commit another burglary.

He said “everybody takes stuff there (at the meth house). It's common practice,” referring to “stuff” as stolen property. Detectives already were on Blackford's trail - they'd installed a GPS tracker on his car and had been following him for days.

They arrested him in a traffic stop Tuesday and searched his motel room, mother's home and a Spokane Valley storage unit. Read more here.

Detectives also drove Blackford throughout Spokane County as he pointed out homes he'd burglarized.

Blackford's information led detectives and the Spokane County SWAT team to raid the Glass Avenue home Thursday, as well as a shop at 12607 N. Freya in Mead where Blackford said he'd taken stolen property.

Detectives also searched a home at 7722 N. Altamont where Blackfod said he and Werre and traded jewelry for meth within he last couple of days. Werre is in jail on a probation hold and a civil bench warrant. She has not yet been arrested in this case.

Prolific burglar helps bust serial burglar

Watch me discuss this story with KHQ's Dave Cotton.

A prolific burglary suspect arrested for a fuel theft in last week helped detectives identify a suspect in a series of rural Spokane County burglaries, including one that occurred as three children hid in the home

Susan Burke, who is awaiting trial in Kootenai County for a large burglary ring, told detectives that Dean Michael Blackford, 50, burglarized mostly rural Spokane County homes during the day, according to court documents.

Burke, 50, said Blackford targets higher-end homes for jewelry, tools and electronics, and that his girlfriend, Tawnya Werre, 43, sold jewelry at various stores in Spokane.

Detectives used a GPS device to track Blackfod's truck before arresting him on Tuesday.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

April 10: Property crimes frustrate sheriff

Con man stole $2.25M from investors

A Spokane con man had such a good sales pitch that he convinced a physician and a lawyer to take part in his get-rich quick schemes. In the end, some 10 investors lost more than $2.25 million they threw at his false promises.

Robert B. Hiatt, 57, pleaded guilty Thursday to eight felony fraud counts and a single count of intimidating a witness after he threatened to kill a whistleblower. Hiatt’s wide-ranging scheme promised huge returns on investments that never existed, Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Durkin said.

Read the rest of the story here.

New charge refutes ‘doing good’ claim

A car prowling suspect who begged a sheriff's deputy for leniency earlier this month has been charged with burglary.

Orlando Jaramillo, 21, (pictured) said he had been “doing good” when he was arrested for stealing a cellphone April 3, but new charges filed in Spokane County Superior Court allege otherwise.

Jaramillo and his brother, Angelo Jaramillo, 22, are accused of stealing an air compressor from a truck parked at North Division Street and East Rockwell Avenue in January, as well as burglarizing a home in the 4100 block of East Pacific Avenue.

Tetyana Landrus, 19, is accused of selling the stolen property at a pawnshop.

The Jaramillos pleaded not guilty to the charges this week in Spokane County Superior Court and remain in the Spokane County Jail.

Cop bumps into cigarette-buying thief

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan detective can credit legwork, luck and one man's bad habit for his latest arrest.

A Traverse City police detective went to a local gas station Thursday to show clerks a surveillance video image of someone accused of stealing a woman's credit card a week before. The man Detective Kevin Gay was looking for was buying a pack of cigarettes there.

Capt. Brian Heffner, who leads the detective bureau, said a chance encounter like this is rare but welcome.

“The odds are definitely against this happening. … On the exact day and time he's in there, the suspect is buying a pack of cigarettes,” Heffner told the Traverse City Record-Eagle for a story (http://bit.ly/JWEukm) published Saturday.

The man, 51, was arrested and faces charges of unlawful use of a credit card, the newspaper reports.

Police said the suspect had used the credit card at two area stations, including the one where he was nabbed.

‘Doomed’ man admits to cop gun theft

A Spokane man who stole a handgun from Spokane County sheriff's detective's squad car has been sentenced to about three years in prison.

A judge recommended James Warren Peterschick, 30, undergo drug treatment and be placed in a federal prison with a medical facility in hopes of addressing what his lawyer described as a lifetime of mental problems.

“Mr. Peterschick was doomed from the start,” his lawyer, Robert Fischer, wrote in a sentencing memorandum. Fischer referenced a doctor's report detailing Peterschick's troubled life.

“Reading this is reminiscent of a Charles Dickens novel that tragically doesn’t wind up with a happy ending,” Fischer wrote.

Peterschick was abused by several people as a child and began using methamphetamine when he was 13 or 14, according to the report.

“When James was nine years old his mother moved to Dallas, Texas, taking him with her to “start fresh,” Fischer wrote. “His mother managed to find a new boyfriend that she stayed drunk with for the next fifteen years.”

Peterschick is described as “a functional illiterate with below average intelligence” who suffers from auditory visual and kinesthetic hallucinations.

In addition to 33 months in prison, Peterschick was sentenced Tuesday to three years of probation. He still has pending drug and stolen property cases in Spokane County Superior Court; he'll likely serve those sentences the same time as his federal sentence.

Peterschick smashed out a window on Detective Leroy Fairbanks' government-issued vehicle April 21, 2011, at 5830 N. Division St. and stole fishing poles and a backpack containing electronics, a Glock handgun, handcuffs, a flashlight, badge and IDs for the Sheriff’s Office and FBI.

A jail inmate looking for a break on drug charges told detectives of a dumpster at Garland Avenue and Post Street where most of the items had been dumped.

Peterschick also was arrested in February 2010 for a suspected burglary spree in Pullman.

20-year conman headed to prison

A Spokane man convicted of stealing money from a homeless woman who gave him her savings to rent a home is headed to prison.

But it wasn't the theft that earned Unters “Chuck” Love, 58, a 27-month sentence, it was a bail jumping charge he accrued after he bonded out of jail on his theft charges.

A jury recently convicted Love of six counts of second-degree theft, but he faced only 14 months in prison for those charges. He'll serve that sentence the same time as his sentence for bail jumping.

He'll also be credited for 10 months spent in jail and be eligible for typical sentence reductions through the Department of Corrections.

“He'll do another eight months and then be out and about, no strings attached,” said Deputy Prosecutor George Gagnon. “Thanks, state Legislature.”

Gagnon points to Love's long history of cons and is lack of remorse when describing a man he said “was a pleasure to prosecute.”

“He's being doing this or 20 years it's just the first time since 1991 that we have said no you're not getting a deal, you're going to trial”

Love has at least 107 actions against him in civil courts.

Love denied the charges in an interview at the Spokane County Jail, where he is awaiting transport to prison.

“I never did anything to them except help them try to get into a home,” Love said of the victims.

Love said his victims would have been able to move in to their homes had the police not intervened.

But Gagnon said Love is simply a conman who had no problem stealing money from homeless people and trying to sell or rent properties he doesn't own.

Twelve Spokane County residents apparently agreed. They convicted him April 12 after a short trial in Spokane County Superior Court.

Love said his defense was incompetent, and that the truth will soon be known.

“There is a lot of corruption going on and it's going to come out in the appeal,” Love said. “”The courts and the police department, they basically coerced these people to say what they said.”

Love filed a complaint against Gagnon to the state bar association, but it was dismissed.

In the interview last week, Love declined to discuss a stadium project he proposed in Airway Heights back in 2003.

Love had signed a contract with the Kalispel Tribe to lease 20 acres next to the tribe's Northern Quest casino, but he refused to talk to reporters about his bankruptcy filing or earlier felony convictions for theft and check-bouncing.Read more in the story from 2003 here.

Love also was involved in a scheme in Yakima in 2004 involving a football league.

Rogue lumber employee guilty in fraud

An unauthorized sales agreement between a rogue North Idaho lumber employee and a Spokane company has led to a felony conviction in federal court.

Trevor Mokry, 32, received about $581,000 from The Pallet Place for lumber he sold them from Stimson Lumber Company in Plummer, Idaho, but he didn't have permission to sell the wood and never gave his employer the money.

Mokry, who was responsible for loading and unloading trucks in the lumber yard, admitted to selling the lumber to the company between June 2007 and June 2011, the U.S. Attorney's Office said today.

An employee with Pallet Place drove from Spokane to Plummer to pick up the lumber and give Mokry checks.
Mokry's scheme unraveled June 1 when another employee saw him receive a check for $4,666 from a Pallet Place driver.

Employees noticed that Pallet Place did not appear as a costumer in Stimson's bill records, so they traveled to the Spokane Valley headquarters, where they saw about $200,000 in Stimson lumber.

“Pallet Place was paying Mokry sixty percent or less of Stimson's retail price for the stolen wood products, plus $200 per order,” according to court documents.

Mokry was fired June 2. He pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to aiding the transportation of stolen goods.

Mokry faces restitution of $581,445.24 when he's sentenced, which is scheduled for July 16. He also faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years probation.

Gas theft helps cops bust burglary ring

A fuel theft at a Spokane Valley gas station this week led police to uncover a suspected burglary ring, officials said Friday.

 Bojan Derzic, 30, told police he'd committed 10 to 15 burglaries in recent months after he was arrested for allegedly stealing fuel at 411 N. Pines Road on Tuesday, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Rick Johnson stopped Derzic driving a van near Mission Avenue and Woodward Road. He had a suspended license and admitted to the fuel theft, police said.

With Derzic in the van were Denis Buljubasic, 27, and prolific burglary suspect Susan Burke, 50 (pictured).

While investigating the gas theft, Spokane Valley police Sgt. Dave Martin recognized the color of the van listed on the registration did not match the color of the van registered to its license plates. A check of the VIN confirmed the van had been reported stolen in November 2011 in Liberty Lake.

Derzic and Burke also had checks that didn't belong to them. Police say the two stole the checks from a garage on the South Hill and had been forging them and depositing them at local banks. They used the cash to buy methamphetamine and gamble at Northern Quest Casino.

Detectives linked them to garage burglaries in the South Hill, Airway Heights and Otis Orchards area by checking pawn shop histories.

The suspects also directed police to a Toyota truck they'd stolen in north Spokane a week ago and left near East Broadway Avenue and North Madelia Street.

Buljabasic was released at the scene of Tuesday's stop, but Spokane police advised they had probable cause to arrest him for his alleged involvement in burglaries on the South Hill, along with Derzic.

The Spokane police Patrol Anti-Crime Team located Buljabasic in a car parked at the Airway Heights WalMart on Thursday. He was with Derzic, who had been released from jail just hours earlier. Both were arrested on suspicion of burglary. They admitted to other burglaries and crimes, police say, and Derzic was found to be in possession of methamphetamine. A slew of felony charges are expected.

‘Baby’s momma’ call helps nab suspect

BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) — Thanks to a ringing cellphone with an incoming call from “Baby's momma,” police in Michigan say they were able to track down a suspected robber.

Investigators in Bay City said a cellphone was found on the ground of a convenience store following a break-in last September. When it rang, officers glanced at the odd caller ID and answered the phone.

The female caller said the phone belonged to Kyle Schmiege but had recently been stolen. But during their investigation, police linked Schmiege to a February 2011 home burglary.

He pleaded guilty to second-degree home invasion. MLive.com reported Wednesday ( http://bit.ly/IKyTwr ) that the 20-year-old Schmiege was sentenced to between 23 months and 15 years in prison, with credit for about four months served.

Bay City is about 115 miles northwest of Detroit.

Pic of cop car gas theft leads to arrest

JENKINS, Ky. (AP) — There it was on Facebook for all to see — Michael Baker with a gas can, a siphon hose stuck into a police cruiser in eastern Kentucky and a middle finger raised.

Among those who saw it were Jenkins police, who arrested 20-year-old Baker on Monday and charged him with theft by unlawful taking.

Baker told WYMT-TV ( http://bit.ly/HUTwfV ) in Hazard there wasn't much fuel in the car to siphon and the stunt on Friday was intended as a joke. Baker's girlfriend took the photo and posted it.

Police didn't laugh. Chief Allen Bormes says that if Baker would steal from police, he'd steal from “just about anybody.”

Authorities say they plan to buy lockable gas caps.

Stolen property seized. Is it yours?

All photos of the property are available on the Sheriff's Office website or Facebook page.

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office is trying to identify the owners of suspected stolen property seized Tuesday after a resident reported suspicious activity north of Spokane Valley.

Officials found the items, which include silverware, jewelry and medical cards, in a car that Curtis McKelvey, 28, was driving when sheriff's Deputy James Ebel stopped him for driving with expired tabs near Liberty and Argonne roads about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, sheriff's spokesman Deputy Craig Chamberlin said today.

Ebel was looking for the vehicle after a neighbor in the area of 7900 East Gunning Drive in the Bigelow Gulch reported two suspicious men who'd walked into a backyard after backing a vehicle into a driveway.

McKelvey told Ebel he and his friend were in the area looking for work, Chamberlin said. He later said he was a heroin addict who needed money to buy more.

He allowed members of the sheriff's office burglary task force to search his car, where they located the suspected stolen property, along with bolt cutters, gloves and shaved car keys.

McKelvey was arrested on a felony warrant out of Adams County.

Photos of the property are available on the Sheriff's Office website or Facebook page. Victims who can identify their belongings should call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233 with the number o their theft report. You must provide proof of ownership to get your items back.

Felon leads police to guns, stolen car

Deputies in Spokane Valley found two suspected stolen firearms Tuesday while contacting a woman who was driving with a suspended license, officials said today.

Jill A. Benton, 27, told deputies she placed a backpack in the bed of a truck next to her vehicle in the area of 400 North University Road and that there were two guns inside, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Benton allowed deputies to search the backpack, and they recovered a KSI Pomona 9mm handgun and a 16-gauge Westpoint shotgun.

Benton allowed deputies to search her storage unit in Spokane Valley, “where there were several items that she said were more than likely stolen,” according to a news release.

Benton also told deputies she'd picked up a “felon” associate who had been driving a Honda, the sheriff's office said. She took deputies to the Honda, which was listed as stolen. Benton was booked into jail on two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Police are asking property crime victims to review photos of the seized property from this case and from other investigations on the Sheriff's Office Facebook page.

“Citizens are required to call Crime Check with their original theft report number and must show proof of ownership for the items they recognize,” according to a news release.

Benton is prohibited from possessing firearms because of felony convictions, which include riot, conspiracy to possess a controlled substance and conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance related to a medical marijuana robbery in January 2011.

Tips sought on CdA gymnasium thefts

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 Coeur d'Alene police are asking for help identifying men believed to be responsible for thefts at local gymnasiums.

At least two gyms have reported at least four thefts since March 20 in which thieves walk into the gyms and help themselves to keys and wallets in the men's locker rooms, according to the Coeur d’Alene Police Department.

They use the keys to prowl vehicles in the parking lot.

Surveillance video released today from 360 Fitness, 410 W. Neider Ave., on March 20 shows one of the suspected thieves.

Photos from video at Safeway in Liberty lake show two men believed to be connected to the use of a credit card stolen from Peak Fitness on April 16.

The men are driving a dark-colored compact car.

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

Wedding ring set recovered in bike theft

The Spokane Sheriff's Office is looking for the owner of a wedding ring set that was found after two suspected bicycle thieves were arrested Monday.

Corrections deputies recovered the rings from the front pants pocket of Damen J. Banning, 34, while booking him into jail on suspicion of first-degree trafficking in stolen property.

Deputies arrested Banning and Colleen Sue Janson, 52, (pictured) after responding to North Division Bicycle, 10503 N. Division St., for a report of a stolen bicycle.

The two told Deputy Terry Liljenberg they were trying to sell the bicycle for a friend. Janson gave Liljenberg a false name, but Deputy Jeff Shover arrived and recognized her, then dispatchers confirmed she had a warrant for misdemeanor theft, according to the sheriff's office.

Employees realized the bicycle was stolen after their mechanic noticed it was purchased at Bicycle Butler, 6520 N. Ash St., in February and called the shop to obtain the purchaser's information, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Liljenberg contacted the owner, who said he didn't know his bicycle was missing. He left it in his garage on Saturday but accidentally left door open overnight, the sheriff's office said. The bike was returned.

Banning, whose previous convictions include theft and vehicle prowling, was booked on the trafficking charge; Janson was booked on the theft warrant as well as new charges of making false and misleading statements and first-degree trafficking in stolen property.

Anyone who has had a wedding ring stolen and has made a report is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233 and provide the report number. You must provide proof of ownership to get the ring back.

Janson has a long criminal history and was a witness in a 2008 drug-fueled murder that police say was over $7.25.

Crime Stoppers targeted her in February 2010 to ensure she would be available to testify at trial.

She didn't end up needing to - the killer, Terry L. Conner, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 31 years in prison. His accomplice, Aaron Lyons, received 10 years.