Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

News brief: Security images showing theft of Centralia utility payments leads to suspect

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Centralia police reported this morning they’ve arrested a suspect in the break-in to the Centralia city utilities payment drop box over the weekend and recovered several checks. The owners will be notified, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Erick D. Teichman-Lehrer, 31, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree theft, according to detective John Panco.

Police said the box on the  500 block of North Pearl Street was burgled at approximately 11 p.m. on Sunday and discovered on Monday morning.

The box had last been emptied by the city at about noon Sunday, according to police.

Anyone who dropped a payment into the box between noon and 11 p.m. on Sunday is advised to contact their bank and put a stop payment on their checks, police say.

Anyone who thinks their payment may have been stolen is asked to contact Officer Mike Lowrey at 360-740-1105 and reference case number 17A1928.

The city of Centralia recommends anyone who put a payment in the box any time between noon on Sunday and 8:30 a.m. on Monday contact the customer service center at 360-330-7657 to assure the payment was applied to their account.

Anyone who notices anything unusual related to payment processing of their utility account should also contact the customer service center.

Detective Panco today said images caught on camera led to a vehicle that matched the vehicle leaving the scene and their suspect and also showed the theft. Teichman-Lehrer allegedly admitted to breaking into the box and stealing envelopes containing checks made out to the utility department, according to Panco.

The red drop box was to be removed by the city and won’t be available until further notice.

News brief: Nighttime fire chases eight occupants out of house

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017
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The scene on South King Street in Centralia. / Courtesy photo by Riverside Fire Authority

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Four adults and four children are displaced after a house fire during the night in Centralia, which started as a clothes dryer fire.

Firefighters called at 12:43 a.m. to the home on the 500 block of South King Street found all the occupants had gotten out and were uninjured, according to Riverside Fire Authority. Two cats perished, according to Fire Chief Mike Kytta.

“Firefighters quickly attacked the main body of fire which was located in the utility room and kitchen,” Kytta stated in a brief summary of the incident.

Firefighting efforts were challenged for short period of time by a live electric power line that was in the vicinity of the utility room, according to Kytta.

The fire department Tweeted it began in the laundry room where the dryer was in use at the time and heavily damaged the rear of the home. It left smoke and heat damage throughout, according to Riverside.

Riverside was assisted by the Chehalis Fire Department. The residents are they are receiving assistance from the American Red Cross.

News brief: Attempted robbery of delivery man

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Centralia police were called at 2:10 a.m. today after an individual said he was confronted by two masked males who tried to rob him as he was making a delivery to an auto parts store on the 1100 block of West Main Street in Centralia.

The males were armed with knives, demanded his money and he refused, according to the Centralia Police Department. The victim ran to get help, police said.

“Upon returning to the scene it was discovered that the suspects entered the victim’s vehicle and stole his backpack,” the police department stated in a brief summary of the incident.

This case is under investigation.

News brief: Centralia utility payment box burgled

Monday, February 20th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police got a call about 6:25 a.m. today from a citizen who reported the Centralia City Light payment drop box had been broken into and everything taken.

An officer responding to the 500 block of North Pearl Street found it was opened and empty, according to the Centralia Police Department.

A representative of the utility was contacted and advised items from inside the box had been collected on Friday, according to police. They will be checking with other employees tomorrow to determine if anything was taken, according to police.

The case is currently under investigation.

News brief: Short gunshot investigation

Friday, February 17th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Centralia police this morning began investigating after they were advised a hospital in Thurston County had a victim of a gunshot, who claimed he was shot in the Centralia area, but couldn’t provide an exact location.

Officers were notified about 5:35 a.m. but by the time they arrived to the hospital, the patient had already left, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Police Sgt. Kurt Reichert said it’s starting to look as though the incident actually occurred in the Seattle area, and they are reaching out to police there.

The male is associated to an address up north and local officers learned an incident did occur up north, according to Reichert.

Hospitals are required to notify police of gunshot wound patients, and sometimes such victims intentionally provide misinformation, Reichert said.

News brief: Glenoma house fire victims died of smoke inhalation

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The three residents of the home that caught fire in Glenoma last week died from smoke inhalation, according to the Lewis County Coroner’s Office.

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Frost Creek Road

Coroner Warren McLeod this morning identified them as Alice M. Lauer, 83,  Lynn L. Lauer, 72, and Dennis L. Watson, 51.

The fire broke out in the single-story home on the 100 block of Frost Creek Road early last Thursday morning. Once the blaze was extinguished and the scene cooled down, responders were able to retrieve three bodies from inside.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and a fire investigator are jointly investigating the incident.

Chief Deputy Dusty Breen has said they knew the house was occupied by a husband, his wife and adult son, but the formal identification was made by the coroner’s office.

Coroner McLeod indicated this morning the cause of death for each victim has been ruled as asphyxia secondary to the inhalation of combustible materials.

Authorities have not not said what they think ignited the fire.
•••

For background, read “Glenoma fire, death investigation continues” from Friday February 10, 2017, here

News brief: Car vs. bus north of Centralia

Friday, February 10th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Firefighters were called out about 7:15 a.m. today after a car spun out and struck a school bus on state Route 507 between Centralia and Bucoda.

Tina Vanderhoof, administrative chief for Thurston County Fire District 12, said nobody was transported to the hospital, as far as she knew.

She said it happened in the curves around the 21000 block of state Route 507.

News brief: Minor to moderate flooding on the menu

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Flood warnings continue for area rivers including the Skookumchuck River near Bucoda, the Chehalis River around Doty and Grand Mound as well as the Newaukum River near Chehalis.

Late this afternoon, the National Weather Service advised a flood watch in Lewis County for the Skookumchuck, other portions of the Chehalis River and even East Lewis County.

In the past 24 hours, as much as two and a half inches of rain has fallen over some of the lowlands, with three to six inches dropping over the Cascade and Olympic mountains, according to the weather service.

A wind advisory is in place for tomorrow in the Southwest Interior.

The city of Centralia this afternoon reports the heavy rains have caused local rivers and streams to rise and some streets have been closed.

“There is a sand bag station open in the large parking lot behind the Bethel Church located near the corner of Center Street and North Pearl Street,” Centralia Police Department Public Information Officer John Panco stated in a press release.

The city asks motorists if they must drive through water over the roadway, to please go slow.

“The wake from vehicles may cause water to flow into houses and cause damage to property,” Panco stated.

The city does not expect the water to rise significantly, but will monitor for changes, according to Panco.

Haliday Road this afternoon has water over it but remained passable, Panco said.

Due to China Creek rising, the intersection of West Magnolia and North Iron streets has water covering the roadway. Also East Third at North Gold street is covered by water. Both have been closed off by the street department.

“If the road has been closed off by road closed signs do not drive past the signs. This is dangerous and it’s against the law.”

Minor flooding is occurring and both minor and moderate flooding are in the forecast.

Today’s  rain will lead to an increase in threat of landslides in Western Washington, which has already occurred in some places. State Route 7 was blocked by a mudslide this afternoon at Mineral Road South.

U.S. Highway 12 is closed in both directions around White Pass, because of multiple snow slides, and will remain shut down through the night, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. The closures are at milepost 138 to 183.

WSDOT will evaluate conditions and provide an update by 10 am tomorrow.

The public can monitor the changing conditions for their area by checking the the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Seattle. Information on current and forecasted river levels can be found here.

 

Rain, snowmelt: Minor flooding expected

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The National Weather Service this morning issued a flood warning for the Newaukum River near Chehalis, expecting it will overflow its banks today.

Minor flooding is forecast, which will inundate many roads as well as residential and commercial areas along the river and its forks, according to the weather service.

Later this morning flood warnings were issued for the Skookumchuck River near Bucoda and the Chehalis River around Doty and Grand Mound.

Heavy rain last night and today, with a little boost from melting
lowland snow, will drive the several rivers in southwest Washington
over flood stage today, according to the weather service.

A flood watch remains in effect for other areas of Lewis and surrounding counties with a weather system moving through the region and snow levels dropping.

“Those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action should flooding develop,” the weather service states.

Today’s  rain will lead to an increase in threat of landslides in Western Washington.

A winter storm warning and avalanche warning are in effect in East Lewis County, with freezing rain expected. U.S. Highway 12 is closed in both directions around White Pas, because of multiple snow slides, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The public can monitor the changing conditions for their area by checking the the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Seattle. Information on current and forecasted river levels can be found here.

News brief: Chehalis shooting case ends with prison

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 36-year-old man convicted in a case in which a woman standing on a Chehalis home’s porch was shot at twice following an early morning argument was sentenced yesterday to 12 years plus eight months in prison.

Andrew C. Skyberg previously made an Alford plea to second-degree assault and a straight plea of guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm.

Lawyers on the two sides had an agreed recommendation he should get 152 months and a judge yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court went along with that.

It happened outside a home on the  600 block of Southwest William Avenue in Chehalis in the early morning hours of Oct. 7. Prosecutors said Skyberg pointed his handgun in the air and fired off two to three rounds then shot twice toward the 52-year-old victim.

Nobody was injured but one bullet lodged in the railing along the front porch.

The Chehalis man was ordered to undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation, as chemical dependency was found to have played a role in the offense, according to court documents. He was also ordered to have no contact with the victim for 10 years.
•••

For background, read “News brief: Suspect in Chehalis shooting incident pleads guilty” from Friday January 27, 2017, here

News brief: Missing Cowlitz River fisherman still not located

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office yesterday suspended the search for the 43-year-old man who was reported missing from the Blue Creek Boat Launch area along the Cowlitz River.

Friends came to meet up and fish with Prathana Nammavong on Saturday and found his vehicle, fishing poles and chair, but not him.

Attempts to locate the Des Moines resident were made during the weekend and Monday on the water and along the banks with no success.

Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said there are some areas of the river they’d like to go back to, but are evaluating how they can do that safely.

The boat launch is south of Ethel, off Spencer Road.
•••

For background, read “News brief: Des Moines man missing from Cowlitz River fishing area” from Monday January 30, 2017, here

News brief: Trio suspected in jewelry heist found in Chehalis

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Three suspects were arrested last night at a Chehalis gas station just hours after a courier was assaulted and robbed of nearly a half million dollars worth of jewelry at a SeaTac hotel.

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Courtesy photo by Rachelle Godsey

The victim was walking to his room when he was confronted by three masked men who took his bag of valuables, slashed a tire on his vehicle and then fled, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office. It was reported just after 6 p.m.

Just after 8 p.m., Washington State Patrol trooper spotted the suspect vehicle at the Arco station at the 13th Street and Interstate 5 interchange, according to authorities.

Chehalis resident Jennifer Moliga and her husband were on their way home from shopping and about to pull in to get fuel, but changed their minds.

“We get off the freeway and on the right side, at AM/PM, there were just cop cars everywhere,” she said. “We could see, we counted on one side six cop cars.”

Moliga said they seemed to be blockading the entrance and had two guys sitting in front of the store on the sidewalk.

King County sheriff’s Sgt. Cindi West said three suspects were arrested and transported back to King County to be booked for robbery.

The bag of jewelry is presumably inside the suspects’ vehicle, which was impounded and will be searched later today, West said.

News brief: Des Moines man missing from Cowlitz River fishing area

Monday, January 30th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Deputies, along with search and rescue personnel, are looking for a missing man whose vehicle and belongings were located without him when two friends came to the Blue Creek Boat Launch area to fish with him on Saturday morning.

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Prathana Nammavong

Prathana Nammavong, a 43 year old resident of Des Moines, commonly fishes the Cowlitz River in the same area, beginning on Friday and concluding on Sunday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

The friends located a chair and fishing poles belonging to Nammavong approximately a quarter of a mile down the Cowlitz River, near its confluence with Blue Creek, according to the sheriff’s office. The items were on the bank above the river, Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said.

The friends looked for about five hours before reporting him missing at 1:15 p.m., according to Breen.

Breen said responders are on the water this afternoon and a ground search along the banks of the river was conducted earlier today.

The boat launch is south of Ethel, off Spencer Road.

Nammavong was last in contact when he communicated to friends via cellphone on Friday morning, Breen said.

Breen said attempts to locate Nammavong were also made during the weekend using water craft and a K-9. He expects they will continue today until dark.

Anyone with information or who had contact with Nammavong this weekend is asked to please call the sheriff’s office at 360-748-9286 or Lewis County Communications at 360-740-1105.