By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – The man arrested when deputies found a variety of items at a property in Doty linking him to the theft of about $6,000 in fuel from a Silver Creek gas station has disappeared, and it seems he’s not who he said he was.
John Lewis, aka Jason A. Lewis
The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office was investigating a nighttime incident captured on surveillance cameras at the Texaco when they searched property at the 100 block of Elk Creek Road in Doty late last month. They turned up a half dozen plug-in access keypads used to override gasoline pumps, plus a canopied pickup truck with darkened windows which held two large fuel tanks, a portable pump and a nozzle.
A man identified as Jason A. Lewis, 47, was found near a recreational vehicle parked inside a barn and tried to run, but was detained and subsequently charged with first-degree theft, first-degree trafficking in stolen property and possession of methamphetamine, according to court documents.
His bail was set at $20,000 when he went before a judge, in part because prosecutors believed he had an extensive criminal history in California, under a different name.
Last week, detectives concluded he was actually John Lewis, that he was using his brother’s name, and that he had fraudulent identification for it.
Harold E. Lusk
On Wednesday, detective Dan Riordan said Lewis bailed out of jail, and they were looking for him for identity theft. Riordan believed Lewis and his girlfriend would be traveling in the motorhome he had previously parked in the Doty barn. It’s a 1994 Mountain Air, registered to his brother, according to the detective.
Lewis didn’t show up for his scheduled court hearing on Thursday, where he and his court-appointed attorney were expected to appear for his arraignment on the original charge.
The sheriff’s office says Lewis may accompanied by his girlfriend, Jodi Hamer.
They are asking for help in locating him.
Lewis is one of three people charged on Aug. 1 in connection with the July 28 theft of about 1,600 gallons of fuel, including regular unleaded gasoline, highway diesel and off-road diesel.
Also charged were 28-year-old Harold E. Lusk who resides on the Elk Creek property, and Raymond T. Hankins, 48, from Yelm.
Alyssa J. Hanson
This past Wednesday, authorities charged Lusk’s girlfriend, 20-year-old Alyssa J. Hanson with trafficking in stolen property and possession of methamphetamine.
Charging documents state Hanson spoke with detectives when the property was searched and she acknowledged she and Lusk split their time between living in a travel trailer there and the house, both places in which suspected meth was found. She allegedly said Lusk acquired fuel and that she and him distributed it to others from the Elk Creek Road property, according to court documents.
The case began to come together when deputies recognized two faces and a license plate on the surveillance video, put together with an earlier tip from an unnamed person who told law enforcement Lusk and his associates had been stealing large amounts of gasoline from local gas stations.
The unnamed individual also said Lusk and a man from California who was hiding in Lusk’s barn in a trailer were cooking methamphetamine for sale. No mention was made in Lewis’s charging documents of of meth-making materials located during the search.
However, according to court documents, numerous containers of gasoline, including a 55-gallon drum of it were discovered.
Lusk’s warrant includes four counts of unlawful possession of firearms, in connection with guns found that day.
Detectives thought Hanson and Lusk may still be in Lewis County, or may have been planning to leave the state.
Meanwhile, Hankins was picked up on his warrant in Thurston County, and bailed out, but appeared out-of-custody in Lewis County Superior Court on Thursday. Judge James Lawler allowed Hankins to remain free on the $25,000 bail he posted.
His arraignment is set for this coming Thursday.
The sheriff’s office asks anyone with information on the whereabouts of Lusk, Hanson or Lewis to phone them at 360-748-9286 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-748-6422 if they wish to remain anonymous or earn a reward.
For background, read “Sheriff’s Office: Large scale gasoline stealing operation uncovered” from Friday August 1, 2014, here
Raymond T. Hankins, 48, is represented by defense attorney Bob Schroeter when he appears before a judge on Thursday in Lewis County Superior Court to hear the charges against him.
Lewis County sheriff’s detectives share this photo of a 1994 Mountain Air – with a fox emblem – similar to the one John Lewis may be driving.