Latest from The Spokesman-Review
PUBLIC LANDS — Vehicle break-ins are not uncommon at state parks and trailheads around the region.
That was the focus of a post I made in April after a local climber returned to the parking area to find his car window smashed.
The post brought back bad memories for another reader, who writes this to help remind other recreationists to leave nothing valuable in their vehicles.
Your blog of a car broken into brings back bad memories. We have had our Toyota Camry driver's side window smashed out, not once but twice while we were kayaking the Little Spokane last year. Once we were parked at the painted Indian petroglyphs and once at the take out by the Spokane house. Neither time did we have anything in the seats or floorboards of the car.
Both times they had popped the trunk with the inside lever. We were smart enough to have nothing in the trunk either. Both times were on weekdays as opposed to weekends. Once there were about 15 cars in the parking lot but for some reason they picked our car to break into. No one in the parking lot that we questioned had seen anything unusual.
It is very frustrating. It makes us not want to go kayaking.
It would seem to me since it seems to happen so often the police would be more involved. I often wonder if I should just leave my car unlocked with a note in the window that it is unlocked with nothing of value in it. Perhaps that way they would open the door, check it out and leave it alone.
Wish there was a good solution.
Thanks for listening and pointing out the recent occurrence to the public.
Ramadan prayers will continue at the Bosnia Herzegovina Heritage Association through July 17, following the discovery of the message "Death to Islam" spray painted on the building's exterior this weekend.
"We did take a few days off, while the dust settled, so to speak," said Admir Rasic, a member of the Spokane Bosnian and Muslim communities who was present at the club, along with about 25 other people, on July 4 when the graffiti was discovered. "We are back here, and we invite the whole community. Everyone is welcome here."
Spokane Police said Thursday the case had been assigned to its Joint Terrorism Task Force, and that photographs of the message were taken by investigators. Rasic said the message was written between 10:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on the building, which also serves as a warehouse. The club and the Washington Council on American-Islamic Relations is asking anyone with information to contact the FBI field office in Seattle by dialing (206) 622-0460.
The council issued a formal letter to U.S. District Attorney Mike Ormsby on Tuesday asking for federal involvement in the case. The group says the hate speech "fits a pattern of increased targeting of person s and property associated with Islam and the American Muslim Community."
But the message at a news conference held at the center Thursday morning was one of inclusion. Several leaders of area faith groups spoke, representing the Lutheran, Episcopalian, Catholic and Baptist faiths. All condemned the message of the graffiti and said it was important for Christians, Muslims and members of all religions to support each other against hate.
"We are together in our love for God, and our love for our neighbor, and we must keep that up," said the Rev. Martin Wells, bishop of the Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
Imam Yasser Shahin visited the Bosnian center to break his Ramadan fast on July 4, he said. It was the only time he'd visited the center during the holy month because of his obligations at the Spokane Islamic Center. Shahin said he felt guilt that his appearance, with his wife, in traditional Muslim garb may have incited the spray painted message.
Admir Rasic's wife, Azra, said the community and law enforcement needs to send a clear message that this speech won't be tolerated.
"It really shook you," Azra Rasic said of seeing the graffiti, which has since been covered by the landlord. "I worried for my daughter, and for her future."
OLYMPIA — Recent vandalism against Hindu temples in the metropolitan Puget Sound was condemned today by Gov. Jay Inslee as "acts of intolerance, intimidation and violence."
Inslee, who was joined by Hindu and Muslim community leaders at his weekly press conference, said the vandalism against the temples in Bothell and Kent, plus some anti-Muslim graffiti sprayed on a Bothell junior high, was disturbing.
"Who you pray to, and whether you pray, doesn't determine whether you're an American," Inslee said. "Hindus and Muslims are clearly part and parcel of the state of Washington."
A swastika and the words "Get Out" were sprayed on a Hindu temple in Bothell last month, and "Muslims get out" was sprayed on a nearby junior high school. Broken windows and graffiti was found at a Hindu temple in Kent last weekend.
PUBLIC LANDS — Apparently we have an axe-swinging landscape terrorist on the loose who's getting some sort of warped pleasure from vandalizing live trees along the popular public trails on the South Hill bluff.
Another ponderosa pine was crudely hacked down in the last few days, says trails user Chris Lang, who snapped the photo above today near the first tree that was reported being hacked down below 37th and High Drive on Feb. 10.
But this tree-whacker apparently is no friend of the bluff.
These trees cannot be seen by homes along High Drive and are not in thick forested areas that are a still in need of planned and controlled thinning.
Keep an eye out for this jerk.
Does it cross your mind that it might be because some malformed individual did not like the politics expressed by your bumper-sticker?
PUBLIC LANDS — For God's sake, get a clue.
Yellowstone Park rangers rescue, cite treasure hunters twice
On April 27 and again on May 9, rangers from Yellowstone National Park had to rescue treasure hunters from Washington state who were ill-equipped for their treks into the park's back country seeking the $1-million "Forrest Fenn Treasure," which a poem in the Santa Fe, N.M. art dealer's 2010 memoir allegedly contains nine clues to the hidden treasure.
—Jackson Hole News & Guide
SHOOTING — The small but formidable percentage of pigs who wallow anonymously in the freedoms afforded by the Second Amendment continue to make a bad name for the sport of target shooting.
Worse, they are at an alarming rate reducing the number of places responsible gun owners can shoot.
A site on the Coeur d'Alene National Forest near Hayden Creek that's been used by shooters for decades is on the verge of being shut down by people who trash the place with target garbage, shell casings and litter, while blasting to pieces any sign posted to plead for responsibility.
Photos with this post show signs that had been posted for less than three months at the Hayden Creek site. This is the response to Forest Service emphasis patrols at the site and efforts by volunteers to get voluntary compliance with basic littering rules and shooting etiquette.
"Needless to say, we are beyond disgusted with this type of behavior, and I imagine every responsible shooter who uses the area is, too," said Jason Kirchner, Idaho Panhandle National Forests spokesman in Coeur d'Alene. "We really don’t want to shut down shooting in the area, but behavior like this moves us closer to that decision every day.
Two Washington Department of Natural Resources parcels were declared no-shooting zones by the Spokane County Commissioners this year following a petition by fed up landowners.
Regarding the Hayden Creek site, a clearly frustrated Kirchner added:
We've had abuse in the area going back decades, but it seems to be getting worse every year. You might recall that this spring, and the previous spring, we sent out pictures and a news release begging the public to report slobs at the shooting sites. We've gotten volunteers that have started helping to clean it up, but the slobs who trash these places and shoot up everything in sight have been relentless.
I don't think it's any secret that if the trend continues there will come a time when we will have to decide that the only way to clean it up is to close it to shooting, barricade the sites, and issue citations to anybody we find shooting in the area. It's a shame that a bunch of slobs will ruin it for the responsible sportsmen who use the area.
This 1948 Cadillac was just one of several classic cars that were vandalized at the home of Don Martin of Coeur d'Alene. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
Don Martin surveyed the damage and could only shake his head in disgust. Late one afternoon last week, he heard what he thought were gunshots on his rural property near Coeur d’Alene. Martin, 87, drove around back to investigate and discovered someone had been smashing the windows, headlights and taillights out of his classic cars. They got to his Volkswagen Karmann Ghias. They got to the ’55 Ford Crestline, the ’59 Cadillac, the ’37 Packard 120. And they shattered the glass of the 1960 four-door Caddy hard top. “It’s a nice car – it was, till they busted the windows,” Martin said. “I was pretty mad. I was mad.” More than two dozen cars were vandalized in all, and the only people he found trespassing on his farm were two boys who had ridden there on their bicycles/Scott Maben, SR. More here.
Question: Have you ever owned a classic car?
Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is offering a reward for information leading the arrest and conviction of vandals who damaged more than 15 cars in Otis Orchards this week. Stometime between Monday night and Tueday morning, more than a dozen vehicles on or near Wellesley Avenue between Campbell Road and the Idaho state line had their windows broken out.
Anyone will information on the vandalism spree is asked to call the Crime Stoppers tip line at (800) 222-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous.
A pumpkin patch on the South Hill has become the target of vandals. Sometime after 8 p.m. Saturday, someone smashed hundreds of pumpkins in the parking lot of Our Lady of Fatima on 33rd Avenue. "Oh, it's crazy I don't get it," said Mark Sullivan, a church volunteer. " I don't understand why someone would do this." Sullivan said so many pumpkins were smashed the mess created a traffic hazard on 33rd Avenue. Spokane city street crews spent four hours cleaning up pumpkin pieces. "He had so many pumpkins that he had to leave with his pickup and come back with a dump truck and then he came back with street sweeper, who knows how much tax payer dollars that cost, it's a lot of money," said Sullivan/Annie Bishop, KXLY. More here.
Question: There's an underlying meanness to this crime that bugs me. I hope they catch the vandal(s) — and penalize him/her to the max. What do you think?
Using a bucket lift surrounded by caution tape, Miles Cooley of the Spokane Parks Dept. clears the hazard lights lined up on a giant stack of picnic tables at Manito Park Friday. Pranksters have built and left such stacks on at least two occasions this summer, requiring city employees to bring equipment used to prune trees to the site to safely unstack the tables. (Jesse Tinsley, SR)
City workers made an unexpected find while deconstructing the latest mysterious picnic-table pyramid at Manito Park on Friday afternoon. An Urban Forestry crewman discovered a handwritten note addressed to park employees at the top of the stack of 36 tables. The note was signed “SKFS.” It made references to recently constructed table pyramids at Riverfront Park and revealed that four teens are responsible for the latest stacking in Manito. “We heard that our riverfront table pyramids cost $500 each to remove,” the note reads, “yet they only took 4 teens 25 min to assemble sans equiptment! Please stop wasting taxpayer dollars.” The pyramid is the second at Manito this summer and the fourth in Spokane. City workers discovered a larger, nine-level stack of 45 tables Tuesday morning at Riverfront Park/Justin Runquist, SR. More here. (Inset: SR photo of a note found on one of the stacks of picnic tables)
Question: Should Spokane give top priority status to finding individuals responsible for stacking the picnic tables?
This image provided by KVVU-TV shows a billboard with a mannequin dangling from a hangman's noose near The Strip in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/KVVU, Peter Dawson)
By MICHELLE RINDELS,Associated Press
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Even by Las Vegas standards, it was a shocking billboard: A mannequin dangling on a hangman's noose below a black sign with the ominous words "Dying for Work."
Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Jeremie Elliott says the 911 calls started coming in as the sun came up early Wednesday, with drivers worried the stiff, black-suited dummy swaying at the end of a rope along Interstate 15 near Bonanza Road was a real person.
"It's a publicity stunt, obviously done in bad taste," said Elliott, adding that officials were focused on getting it down quickly to avoid distracting drivers during the morning commute.
The graphic display along the interstate was one of at least two unauthorized signs spotted Wednesday morning in the Las Vegas area. Another found on Highland Avenue and Desert Inn Road was white with black lettering that read, "Hope You're Happy Wall St.," and a similar mannequin hanging off the edge.
A woman who answered the phone at Lamar Advertising Co., which owns one of the billboards, labeled the act vandalism and said the display was being removed. She did not provide her name.
Clear Channel Outdoor, which owns another sign that was affected, said they pulled the display immediately and plan to work with law enforcement to punish whoever is responsible.
"We condemn the destructive behavior against one of our billboards because it is illegal and punishes our advertisers," Clear Channel Outdoor spokesman Jim Cullinan said in a statement. "This is not an innocent protest, but it is illegal and dangerous behavior that Clear Channel Outdoor and the industry will not accept."
Although the billboard alarmed drivers, it's unclear whether regulations in the area ban roadside signs with graphic depictions of suicide. A spokesman for the Nevada Department of Transportation said there didn't appear to be state regulations on the matter, and a spokeswoman for Clark County was also not aware of rules against the subject matter.
While nobody has publicly claimed responsibility for the signs, the Occupy Las Vegas group, which is affiliated with the larger Occupy Wall Street movement, posted photos of the displays on its website. Its caption says the Nevada governor's budget has slashed social programs and aid to suicidal adults.
Sebring Frehner, an Occupy supporter who posted the photos, told The Associated Press he didn't know who put the hangmen up, but applauded the message behind it.
"People saying it's in bad taste are living sheltered lives and don't pay attention to what affects the working class," he said.
For as many as 2,500 years, red-pigmented pictographs of animals and geometric shapes at a rock shelter along the Snake River bore silent testimony to the presence of the Nez Perce tribe and its ancestors, the Associated Press reports. On Feb. 7, 2010, it took just a few minutes for three vandals armed with cans of spray paint to cause roughly $100,000 worth of damage that will require the services of a rock art conservator to remedy.
Two of the vandals, Freddie Michael Bernal, 21, and Tyler James Carlson, 23, were sentenced in March, with Bernal to spend three years behind bars and Carlson headed to prison for four months. This week, the third member of the vandalism party, 25-year-old Jarad Bovencamp, was sentenced to five months in prison, five months home detention and 200 hours of community service. All three pleaded guilty to willful injury or depredation of property of the United States, by spray painting words including "Freddie B" and the initials "TC" on the basalt at the riverside cliffs. Click below for the full report from the AP.
A convicted killer accused of trashing a Spokane Valley motel while celebrating he and his wife's anniversary was released from prison just 15 months ago.
Danial Caleb Peters, 38, murdered Melissa Mae Wageman, 40, on Dec. 22, 1995, after smoking crack cocaine. He told police he didn't member beating the woman to death with 4-foot pipe but awoke to find her bloody body nearby.
The circumstances are similar to what Peters' public defender, Mike Elston, said apparently happened Tuesday night at the Pheasant Hill Inn, 12415 E. Mission Ave., in Spokane Valley.
Peters "claims a drug-educed paranoid episode" led to him destroying the room he and his wife, Danielle Lea Wozniak, 27, returned to celebrate their one-year anniversary, Elston said Thursday at Peters' appearance in Spokane County Superior Court.
Wozniak told police Peters destroyed the room after they used methamphetamine.
"I want everybody to know that I'm very sorry for the drug use that I did," Wozniak said in court Thursday.
Peters told police "that he felt people were after him" and broke a water sprinkler in an attempt to get help, according to court documents.
He said Wozniak destroyed other items like a mirrors, lamps, air conditioner and phone, but Wozniak said it was Peters. Police responded about 6 a.m. and say the duo caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to the hotel, which had recently been renovated.
Water damage from the sprinklers means only 28 of the hotel’s 104 rooms usable. Peters and Wozniak were booked into jail on a felony charge of first-degree malicious mischief. They married in March, Wozniak said.
Wozniak's criminal history includes a single misdemeanor conviction two years ago. Judge Annette Plese ordered her to stay in jail unless she posts $2,500 bond.
Plese set Peters' bond at $5,000 and told him she had "really serious concerns about your criminal history."
Peters said he has a "very good job" at a construction company that was set up through a church.
The couple was staying with Peters' mother, according to court testimony, but she told court officials they are no longer allowed there.
Peters was sentenced to 17 years in prison in February 1996, but his conviction and scores of others were overturned in 2004 because the Washington Supreme Court ruled the second-degree murder law was defective. He was re-sentenced in 2005.
Wageman met up with Peters while celebrating her 40th birthday at the Happy Time Tavern, 3506 N. Division St. She was killed at a nearby home where Peters had been staying with his his older gay lover after smoking marijuana and crack cocaine. Peters then used his lover's truck to take Wageman’s body to a friend’s house in Stevens County. Upon arrival, the friend handed Peters a phone so he could turn himself in.
Peters didn't deny killing Wageman but said he didn't remember doing so. Wageman was a single mother who was raising a son who, at the time, was an honor student and musician at Shadle Park High School.
Peters finished his sentence at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla in January 2011 and still is completing his two-year probation term, according to the Washington Department of Corrections.
Inmates at Geiger Corrections Center helped clean up thousands of dollars worth of damage to the city park in Rockford recently.
Three young teens have been charged as juveniles with the vandalism, which was reported May 21. Another boy is facing a trespassing charge.
The vandals damaged the Lyon's Club picnic shelter, fair building and "nearly every other structure and fixture within the park," according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.
Seven inmates from Geiger spent about 6 1/2 hours cleaning the park last Thursday.
"The Geiger Inmate Work Crew Program performs manual and skilled labor such as clean up, litter pick up, graffiti removal, forestry work, limited maintenance and other projects for non-profit and government agencies related to public health, safety and welfare," according to a news release.
The Rockford city park was hit hard by vandals sometime late Sunday night, according to a Spokane County Sheriff's Office press release. Nearly every building and fixture in the park was broken and/or spray painted, causing thousands of dollars in damage. City employees spent all of Monday trying to clean up the mess. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233. Click here for more details.
PUBLIC LANDS — They're at it again. As though it's a rite of spring for lame brains, some four-wheel drive enthusiasts are ripping into soggy national forest lands for a few thrills that will leave ruts and plant damage for years to come.
Some of the most serious offenses are occuring in Idaho.
Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest law enforcement officers are asking for any information pertaining to the mudbogging damage in the areas behind Fish Creek Campground and the Milner Trail.
Last weekend, jerks a full size vehicle bypassed the posted sign and mudbogged in the creek behind site #8 at Fish Creek Campground. They created a diversion in the main stream course and broke down the stream banks to flood their playground.
Another mudbogging site (above) was also found off the Milner Trail where extensive damage occurred in a meadow.
Contact: Jill Forth, Law Enforcement Officer, at 208-983-4054.
A man suspected of spray panting graffiti on more than 30 locations in downtown Spokane was arrested Tuesday.
Brad Ruble, 28, was booked into jail for malicious mischief after Neighborhood Resource Officer Tim Ottmar arrested him downtown, according to the Spokane Police Department.
Ruble's fingers were blue when police contacted him - the same color of the paint used to put hearts on the locations.
Another suspected graffiti tagger, Lance Perkins, 25, was arrested in March for allegedly spray painting '57' on numerous locations.
57 refers to Perkins' initials 'LP' on a cellphone keypad, according to court documents.
The Spokane County Sheriff's Office is asking for help identifying two men involved in the vandalism of a Spokane Valley coffee shop.
Surveillance video shows two men walk in front of the Whistle Shop coffee stand in the 16900 block of East Sprague Avenue on April 2.
One of the men threw a large rock through a window, which smashed not only the window but destroyed a granita machine inside the coffee stand.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
Police are looking for information on a vandalism and attempted theft at a Spokane Valley elementary school early Saturday.
Officers responded to an alarm at Greenacres Elementary School in the 17915 E. Fourth St. about 2:57 a.m.
They arrived to find a window pried out o the wall on the east side of the school. A projector mounted on a classroom ceiling was hanging by wires.
Officer set up a perimeter and called in a police dog, but officer did not locate a suspect.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
A vandal caught on tape in Coeur d'Alene is now the target of a Crime Stoppers reward.
Surveillance video shows the man grab flowers in large pots in front of a home decor store at 513 E. Sherman Ave., then tug on the flowers until the pots fall over and shatter.
The vandal's female companion is seen laughing at the damages.
Anyone with information on their identities is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.
Tipsters can remain anonymous.
A vandal slashed tires on six sheriff's patrol cars used for pursuit training, officials said today.
Sheriff's employees arrived at the Spokane County Raceway Park Tuesday to find all 24 tires slashed and flat. The vandal also stole six mounted tires meant to cover flats incur during training.
"A sheriff’s fleet services spokesman estimated the cost to replace the 30 tires at about $3,000, but that loss doesn’t include the time the 20 or so students lost when they had to end their training day five hours early," Sgt. Dave Reagan said in a news release.
The cars were at the raceway so that students could practice pursuit immobilization techniques,, pursuits, spike strip placement and backing maneuvers.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that solve the crime. Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit tips online.
Here's a news release from Sgt. Dave Reagan:
A pair of Spokane Valley businesses suffered damaged offices over the weekend when someone with a pocketful of rocks and too much time on his hands broke numerous windows.
Employees of Schindler Elevator and Tuff Sheds, both located in the 400 block of North Thierman, found windows damaged Sunday morning.
The elevator firm suffered a shattered front window and shattered glass in the entry door.
Tuff Shed suffered shattered glass in the office door, as well as numerous broken windows in sheds on display at the location.
In neither instance did the suspect make entry into the buildings. Anyone with information regarding these acts of vandalism is encouraged to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
A reward is being offered for tips that lead to the arrests of those responsible for vandalizing an upscale subdivision in Coeur d'Alene.
Marijuana references, curse words and other vandalism were spray painted on fences and rocket features near North Atlas Road and West Newbrook Drive. The damage was discovered Wednesday.
The Landings Homeowners Association is offering the reward through Crime Stoppers. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (208) 667-2111 or toll-free at 1-800-222-TIPS.
Tipsters do not have to give their name but should leave a code name or number.
Residents of Hayden's gated Forest Hills subdivision awoke Monday to find driveways and light poles tagged with white paint and symbols, including a Nazi swastika, an anarchy symbol, a penis drawing, and threats. Robert Drummond, of 1545 Pebblestone, found the swastika and three other drawings on his driveway. Other houses in the neighborhood were also vandalized and trashcans tipped over. Among the spray-painted threats found in the neighborhood were "Your Dead!" and "Kill U." Every light pole on Woodstone Drive had a marking of some sort, in white spray paint. David & Norma Alley, who were also victims of the vandalism, said they had had their back fence spray-painted a few months ago. Police have no suspects. All the victims are willing to prosecute the person(s) who is responsible for the vandalism, if found.
The Spokane Valley Police Department is reporting that someone broke off 80 sprinkler heads at Trentwood Elementary sometime over the weekend. The damage was discovered Monday morning and was limited to the front of the school. The school is in a residential neighborhood, so police are hoping that someone noticed something. Anyone with information on the vandalism is asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233.
Authorities say vandals broke 80 sprinkler heads off the irrigation system at Trentwood Elementary School, 14701 E. Wellesley Ave., sometime during the weekend.
The vandals had “no respect for lawn order,” Spokane Valley police spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan said in a news release.
An employee told Crime Check the vandalism took place sometime between 3 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Monday, Reagan said. Damage was limited to the front of the school.
School officials estimate the loss at about $1,000, he said.
Anyone with information regarding the act of malicious mischief is encouraged to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
The Spokane Police Department has introduced a new method for combating graffiti: cheap paint to cover it.
Police are partnering with local paint stores to offer discounts for citizens whose property has been vandalized.
Citizens with 10-day notices from the city to remove graffiti from their property can get a 35 percent discount on "selected paint products" at local Miller Paint, Columbia Paint and Sherwin Williams Paint stores, according to a news release by Officer Jennifer DeRuwe.
The discount is available for 10 days from the date of the notice.
Police say local graffiti costs residents thousands each year to cover up.
Photo courtesy of the City of Spokane Valley.
The Discovery Playground in Spokane Valley appears to be as popular with vandals as it is with children. Parks and Recreation staff noticed yesterday that one of two larger-than-life inchworms in the Secret Garden area of the playground had been stolen (the yellow one) and the other damaged. The city is sounding the alarm and is asking that anyone with information on the whereabouts of the inchworm call Crime Check at 456-2233.
Last year a giant rainbow trout was wrenched out of the concrete, but not stolen. It hasn't yet been put back as staff search for a permanent way to install it so it can't be removed again. Also last year three giant fiberglass Eagle eggs were torn out of the ground and stolen. Residents reported seeing them alongside the road and they were recovered, but they haven't been reinstalled yet either. And only a few weeks ago a park ambassador reporting seeing a 20-something male trying to break a piece off the bronze mountain man sculpture just outside the playground.
If you are ever driving by and see something suspicious or see someone in the park after dark, you're encouraged to call police.