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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Officer’s greeting leads to arrests

The Spokesman-Review

A Spokane Valley officer’s hello early Tuesday turned into an investigation and two arrests.

The man and woman the officer contacted had felony warrants for their arrest, police said. Methamphetamine and a potentially stolen checkbook were found during a search of the van they were in.

Officer Jason Petrini was near North Mullan Road and Sinto Avenue when he saw a GMC van pull into a convenience store and a man get out, Spokane Valley police spokesman Cpl. Dave Reagan said.

The officer asked how the man was doing. The man replied he was a painter on his way to work and gave his name, but said he didn’t have any identification, Reagan said. The officer called in the name, which was actually an alias, and learned about the warrant.

Christopher D. Gosney, 42, was wanted on a felony warrant for identity theft and possession of stolen property. The Pullman resident was booked into the Spokane County jail Tuesday on the warrants and a new charge of possession of methamphetamine.

Alisha M. Simpson, 28, was wanted on a felony warrant for identity theft. The Spokane resident was not charged with any new crimes.

Petrini arrested Gosney, Reagan said. A woman, later identified as Simpson, was waiting in the van.

Meth was found in a back pack and the van’s console, Reagan said. A checkbook with another woman’s name on the checks was located in Simpson’s purse.

More charges for jailed couple

A Spokane Valley couple in jail on drug charges was charged Wednesday with 11 new felony charges.

Teddy Hall, 32, and Sarah Paige Birnel, 22, were each charged with two counts of first-degree identity theft, five counts of second-degree identity theft, two counts second-degree theft, and one count each of residential burglary and second-degree possession of stolen property.

The charges stem from incidents starting in January and involve 10 possible victims, Reagan said.

Spokane Valley police are looking for a third person, Sarah Birnel’s sister, Lisa Birnel, 20, in connection with the series of identity thefts and thefts. She is a white female who is 5 feet 5 inches tall and 130 pounds with brown eyes. Her last known address was 8507 E. Trent Ave.

Meth found during traffic stop

A Spokane Valley officer found seven syringes and three bindles of methamphetamine Wednesday during a traffic stop for improper use of a turn signal.

About 1 a.m., an officer noticed that a car didn’t use its turn signal, Reagan said. He pulled the car over, and the driver immediately gave his name and admitted he didn’t have a driver’s license or proof of insurance.

After taking the driver into custody for driving without a valid license, the officer searched the car, Reagan said. The drugs and paraphernalia were found in an eyeglasses case under the seat. He also found a small set of electronic scales.

Billy Tate, 41, of Spokane, was charged with possession of meth. He also received a $639 fine for failure to carry proof of insurance and improper signaling, Reagan said.

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