Archive for January, 2014

Monument to fallen officers takes its place in Chehalis

Friday, January 31st, 2014
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The Guardian now sits outside the Lewis County Law and Justice Center on Main Street in Chehalis.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Some 200 individuals gathered despite a light rain at the courthouse entrance yesterday to witness the unveiling of a memorial to local law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.

“I’m honored and feel very privileged to dedicate this to the seven officers who lost their lives,” Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield said. “Also to the families who’ve sacrificed and to the police officers who now and the future work to protect us.”

Its creator, local artist Jim Stafford, named it The Guardian. He removed a black drape to reveal the bronze statue depicting an officer, a little girl and a K-9.

Centralia Police Department Chief Bob Berg made note of the efforts made by those shepherding the project, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Association and others.

Berg and Mansfield read the names which each are engraved on the granite base, and laid a red rose for each one.

The widow of the most recent officer to die carried a rose to Deputy Brady Taylor who placed it in memory of Deputy Stephen Mike Gallagher Jr. Gallagher was killed after his patrol car struck an elk on his way to a call to assist Brady in east Lewis County four and half years ago.

Those memorialized are:

• Marshal James C. A. Parsons, Centralia Police Department, end of watch: June 30, 1903

• Officer William H. Smith, Centralia Police Department, end of watch: Dec. 23, 1910

• Deputized Civilian John A. Haney, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, end of watch: Nov. 15, 1919

• Deputy Seth “Riv” Jackson, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, end of watch: April 7, 1937

• Deputy Ernest Runke, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, end of watch: Sept. 19, 1957

• K-9 “Ward”, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, end of watch: Oct. 15, 1985

• Deputy Richard A. Snider, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, end of watch: Feb. 8, 1986

• Deputy Stephen “Mike” Gallagher Jr., Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, end of watch: Aug. 18, 2009

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The monument sits atop brick work which includes messages, names and dedications from individual donors.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Updated at 5:45 p.m.

CONFUSION OVER BABY LEADS TO COMMOTION OUTSIDE WAL-MART

• A security person pursuing a suspected shoplifter in the Wal-Mart parking lot shouting “they stole, they stole” about a woman carrying an infant led other customers to jump into action believing they were witnessing a child abduction. Police were told they saw a woman throw a baby in the backseat and try to drive away, according to the Chehalis Police Department. “One witness attempted to block her car in to prevent her from leaving and she ended up hitting their car,”  Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said this morning. It happened about 1 p.m. on Wednesday outside the retail business on Louisiana Avenue in Chehalis. Security personnel told police the woman shoplifted a pair of boots which subsequently were thrown out the car window in Chehalis, Kaut said. Through a license plate number, the 22-year-old mother was tracked down at her home in Centralia, and she told the officer she panicked and left the scene, according to Kaut. She was not taken into custody, he said. Police will be consulting with prosecutors evaluating the case for possible charges of theft and vehicular assault, Kaut said. The person who used their vehicle to prevent the woman from leaving isn’t expected to be in any trouble, he said.

RESIDENTIAL BURGLARY

• Someone broke into a home in the Adna area yesterday morning between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., stealing well over $1,800 worth of jewelry, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy called about 7:30 p.m. to the 100 block of Clinton Road learned a jewelry box containing bracelets, rings and necklaces were missing, along with some change, according to the sheriff’s office.

CAR PROWL

• Police were called about 9:20 a.m. yesterday to the 800 block of South Silver Street in Centralia regarding a bank card getting stolen from an unlocked vehicle overnight.

• Someone took a wallet from an unlocked vehicle at the 100 block of South Silver Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police at 10 a.m. yesterday.

• Chehalis police were called to the parking lot at Wal-Mart around 11:15 a.m. yesterday when an individual discovered someone had broken into their unlocked vehicle. Among the items missing were jacket, tobacco, DVDs, CDs and prescription medication, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

DRUGS

• A 30-year-old Chehalis man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine after he was caught allegedly shoplifting at K-Mart in Chehalis on Wednesday afternoon. An officer responding to the Northwest Louisiana Avenue retailer found he had taken three boxes of candy and a “stylus”: and a search following his arrest turned up a glass pipe with suspected drug residue, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Jason R. Dunham was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

RESIDENT FINDS TWO BURGLARS IN HOME

• Thurston County deputies are still looking for two males after an interrupted burglary on Wednesday in which the 60-year-old resident was assaulted. Deputies called about 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday to the home on the 10000 block of Old Highway 99 north of Tenino near Rich Road learned the homeowner arrived to find his front door kicked in and saw two males coming out a back bedroom. One of them used a sheathed hunting knife he’d picked up to hit the 60-year-old before they ran out, according to Sgt. Ray Brady. A vehicle pulled into the driveway apparently to pick them up, but then drove away because they were taking too long to get in, Brady said. A deputy caught up to the suspected getaway driver, in his gold 2006 Mercedes and arrested a 25-year-old man from Mount Vernon who said they had been in the area because they were going to the mall, Brady said. Brady said it’s the second time this week in Thurston County where a resident has come home to find a burglar in their home.

COLLISION

• A 54-year-old Rochester man was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after his truck rolled over a guardrail along a creek on Maytown Road just east of Interstate 5 yesterday. Firefighters called about 11:20 a.m. extricated the man after stabilizing the vehicle, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. The 2003 Chevrolet pickup was heavily damaged, according to the Washington State Patrol. Troopers suspect driving under the influence, but the man was transported to the hospital because of a possible head injury, according to the state patrol.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor assault; responses for alarms, misdemeanor theft, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, window broken out of a business; complaint someone dumped trash in someone else’s dumpster … and more.

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A Chevrolet pickup is heavily damaged after striking and then rolling over a guard rail on Maytown Road. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

UNDERAGE DRIVER WRECKS TRUCK

• The sheriff’s office says a pair of teenagers driving around smashing mailboxes with a baseball bat wrecked their truck last night, and the 15-year-old behind the wheel didn’t have a license. Deputies called about 7:30 p.m. to the 700 block of Pleasant Valley Road learned the boys were southbound when they struck a ditch, then a pole, then another ditch, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The 1994 Chevrolet pickup was totaled, Sgt. Rob Snaza said. It belonged to the 16-year-old passenger, according to Snaza. As many as five mailboxes on Haywire and Pleasant Valley Roads were damaged. The case is being referred to juvenile prosecutors for charging decisions, according to the sheriff’s office.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• A 42-year-old Toledo woman will return to court next Thursday to make her plea in a public assistance fraud case. Kelly M. Hanson is alleged to have given false information to the state and collected $5,419 more in food assistance than she qualified for for the 13 months that ended in April 2012 but was just charged last month and summonsed to appear in court this week, according to court documents. A judge on Tuesday afternoon allowed her to remain free on a $5,000 signature bond pending trial. According to charging documents, Hanson collected medical and food benefits for herself and three children and authorities got suspicious in late 2011 the father was residing with them as well. Investigators learned Ty Hanson – her husband, and the children’s father – opened a construction business listing the same address where his wife reported living, but she didn’t report to DSHS he was a member of the household, or any household income beyond  $1,000 a month in child support, according to the allegations. Kelli Hanson terminated her food and medical benefits in March 2012, but an investigation was already underway, the documents show. The state computed what they believed was an overpayment to her by looking at his gross revenue filed with the state Department of Revenue. Kelli Hanson is charged with first-degree theft of public assistance, a felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and also charged with false public assistance verification, a felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, collision on city street, violation of protection order, inquiry on child custody dispute … and more.

Winlock woman owns up to stealing thousands of dollars from her employer

Thursday, January 30th, 2014
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Katrina Bowen consults with her lawyer after the judge asks her to describe specifically what she did to commit first-degree theft.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The employee accused of helping herself to as many as $2,500 worth of lottery tickets a day from the Flying K store and gas station in Toledo admitted to a judge yesterday what she did; she pleaded guilty.

It was only eight days ago when Katrina M. Bowen went before a judge to hear the charges filed against her.

Bowen was fired in September after the owners discovered the source of their increasingly severe cash flow woes, analyzed their books and confronted her. The loss is estimated at more than $175,000.

She said she was keeping track of her ticket purchases in her head.

Gordon and Tonya Lovell said they’ve struggled for almost 20 years to grow their business, working six and seven days a week and this summer had to borrow money to keep afloat.

The Flying K at the 100 block of Cowlitz Street includes a Napa Auto Parts store and is the base for their Toledo Towing.

“At the end of August, we just came up against a brick wall,” Gordon “Rick” Lovell said.

Bowen, 37, of Winlock, had worked for them eight or nine years and became not only a trusted employee, but like family to them, the couple said.

When Police Chief John Brockmueller interviewed Bowen, she reportedly admitted to pocketing money from beer sales and to playing as many as 500 $5 tickets each day during the previous six months.

She cried, told the chief she had a gambling problem, had never been given a pay raise and needed money to live, according to charging documents.

Bowen was charged with first-degree theft on Jan. 3, and summonsed to appear in court on Wednesday of last week. That afternoon, a judge appointed her a public defender and allowed her to remain free pending her trial. By Friday, her lawyer indicated she would plead guilty.

On Monday, the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office upgraded the charge, to include a so-called aggravating factor that it was a major economic offense, meaning a judge would be free to lock her up for as long as 10 years if convicted.

Bowen came to court alone yesterday for arraignment, and answered the judge’s questions in a nearly imperceptible voice.

There was no plea deal. There was no promise of recommending leniency. Bowen is represented by Centralia lawyer Don Blair.

Judge Richard Brosey advised her of the rights she was giving up and asked if she understood he could, if he chose, sentence her to a decade in prison.

She responded affirmatively.

Brosey asked for her plea. She said guilty.

He asked what she did that made her think she was guilty.

Bowen told him what she’d told the police chief: She was taking scratch tickets at work and thought she was keeping track of them, but wasn’t. She admitted 500 per shift.

“I assume you were looking for winners?” Brosey asked.

“Yes,” she replied.

According to Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Eric Eisenberg, Bowen has no felonies in her past. The standard sentencing range for a person with no criminal history and without the aggravator for first-degree theft would be zero to 90 days in jail.

Blair, Eisenberg and the judge agreed Bowen could return to court on Feb. 20 when they will schedule a sentencing date.

Eisenberg said he doesn’t yet know how much time he will ask for when she is sentenced.

How much restitution she will be ordered to pay remains unknown. And how quickly or how much money the Lovells could expect to be reimbursed will depend upon the extent to which she can pay it back, Eisenberg said.

It was less than four years ago when another Winlock resident was caught stealing lottery tickets at a local grocery store where he was a longtime trusted employee and store manager. Benjamin C. Macy was given 14 months in prison. The losses to Cedar Village IGA were said to be close to $1 million.

The state lottery commission has agreed to supply the Flying K with an automatic lottery dispenser. They didn’t have one before because their level of ticket sales didn’t qualify them, the Lovell’s said.

“We’re getting a machine within two weeks,” Tonya Lovell said. “So no employee will ever touch a ticket again.”

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Updated at 8:02 p.m.

CANNABIS COOKING OIL KITCHEN SHUT DOWN

• Centralia Police Department’s special anti-crime officers visited a home on the 700 block of Sky Meadows Drive yesterday afternoon where they confiscated an ounce of butane hash oil, an ounce of hallucinogenic (psilocybin)  mushroom and nearly four pounds of marijuana. Officers served a search warrant about 2:30 p.m. and arrested the 25-year-old resident for manufacturing a controlled substance, according to police. Sgt. Carl Buster said as he understands it, the oil results from a newer processing style to make the hash more concentrated and useable for cooking products that will get a person high. It’s dangerous too, Buster said, and that’s what they were doing there. Logan P. Rodgers was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FRAUD

• Centralia police were called yesterday morning to the 500 block of East Magnolia Street where they learned someone had taken out a loan using the victim’s social security number. The case is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

SPECIAL (UN) DELIVERY

• Some stole a box left by UPS on a front porch at the the 800 block of G Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police late yesterday afternoon.

OTHER THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 5:30 p.m. yesterday to take a report of the theft of a purse an individual had left on a gas pump at the 1200 block of Mellen Street.

DRUGS

• Chehalis police were called to the drug and alcohol rehabilitation center on Southeast Washington Avenue on Monday afternoon to a report a client was caught smoking marijuana in the bathroom. They were told basically it isn’t a criminal issue, its a policy issue for them to deal with, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• An officer was called just after 8 p.m. on Monday to ABHS treatment center again when a new client arrived with drugs in his luggage. Police took the individual and the small amount of black tar-like substance, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Matthew A. Perron, 34, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of heroin, according to police.

VANDALISM

• Chehalis police took more calls on Monday about vehicles getting “egged” in the areas of St. Helen’s Avenue  and Northeast Washington Avenue.

GHOST DRIVER

• Chehalis police responded yesterday morning to a report from a woman in her 70s who said someone took her vehicle from the 100 block of Southwest Fifth Street during the night and then returned it. She said she knew that because they put 43 miles on the odometer and it wasn’t the first time it had occurred; it had been going on for some time, according to the Chehalis Police Department. There was no evidence to indicate such a situation had occurred, according to police.

CLOSE CALL

• A 68-year-old Rochester man was arrested for driving under the influence after his pickup truck veered off Harrison Avenue and one tire rolled up a wheelchair ramp entrance to a building, flipping the truck onto its side in the parking lot yesterday afternoon. Police and aid called about 2:30 p.m. found two males, neither with any serious injuries. “He went off the road, crossed a sidewalk, through the bushes, through the lot and onto the ramp,” Sgt. Carl Buster said. It happened on the 1200 block of Harrison, destroying the hand railing but only making slight contact with the building itself, according to Riverside Fire Authority. James L. Christensen was cited and then released, according to police.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor assault; responses for alarm, possible theft, disorderly persons, collision on city street, harassing text messages, violation of protection order… and more.

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Nobody was hurt when a pickup truck drove nearly to the door of a Harrison Avenue business. / Courtesy photo by Travis Brown

Flames destroying Centralia home go unreported for as long as an hour

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
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Centralia home is consumed by fire. / Courtesy photo by Kendra Lynch

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Investigators this morning are sifting through what’s left of a single-story house in Centralia to learn what caused a fire last night.

Firefighters responding just after 7 p.m. yesterday to the 700 block of South Silver Street found the structure fully involved in fire, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

As they were headed to the scene, they were told by dispatch of calls from individuals who had seen and smelled smoke in the area for as long as an hour, Firefighter-Paramedic Jennifer Ternan said.

When they arrived, its roof had already burned off, according to Ternan.

“So probably the reports it had been burning for an hour were accurate,” Ternan said.

Ternan couldn’t say for sure why it went undetected for so long. It is in a neighborhood with other homes, but did sit back on its property behind another house, she said.

The man and woman who lived there were out for the evening, but arrived while crews were still on the scene, according to Assistant Chief Mike Kytta.

They are insured and the Red Cross was summoned to assist them, he said.

Kytta said it appeared the worst-burned area was a family room built onto the rear of the home. The home and its contents are likely a total loss, according to Kytta.

News brief: Law enforcement memorial statue to be unveiled

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Association is inviting the public to the unveiling and dedication ceremony of the memorial statue for local law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.

The event takes place at 1 p.m. on Thursday outside the entryway to the Law and Justice Center in Chehalis, on West Main Street.

Local artist Jim Stafford was selected to create a bronze statue of a law enforcement officer, police K-9 dog and child. The piece is entitled “The Guardian”

Fundraising efforts have been in place for about the past three years. According to to information on the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office web site, a $10,000 donation pledge toward the cost came from the Lewis County Sheriff’s office Deputies Guild.

A reception will immediately follow.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
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Riverside Fire Authority extends its ladder into a tree to bring down both a cat and the neighbor who attempted to rescue it. / Courtesy photo by West Thurston Regional Fire Authority

MAN, CAT RESCUED FROM TREE

• Firefighters responded to Grand Mound with their ladder truck last night to rescue a man and a cat from a tree. The 20-year-old had climbed about 40 feet up a cedar tree and was too tired from the position he was in to get himself back down, according to Riverside Fire Authority. The black and white long-haired feline was perched about five feet above his head, Acting Capt. Jesse Berry said. “It wasn’t even his cat, I think he was trying to get it for a neighbor,” Berry said. The Centralia firefighters responded about 8 o’clock to 186th Lane Southwest near Nutmeg Street where they joined a crew from West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. With the ladder extended, they were able to reach both, although the cat was a bit apprehensive about letting go of its hold, according to Berry. The human had been stuck for about an hour, the pet for as long as five days, he said.

BURGLARY

• Police were called just before 9 p.m. yesterday regarding the theft of an unspecified item from a locked bedroom at the 2300 block of Sirkka Avenue in Centralia.

• Centralia police were called about 9:30 p.m. yesterday to a report of a burglary at the 100 block of Haliday Road in which a video game system disappeared sometime during the previous several days.

• A deputy was called about 5 p.m. yesterday to the 2900 block of Yahtahay Lane outside Centralia regarding a break-in to a shed behind the home in which a dishwasher was stolen. Also missing sometime since January 13 were shovels and other tools, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss is estimated at $800, according to the sheriff’s office.

OTHER THEFT

• An officer was called yesterday about possible fraud on a checking account in connection with the 2400 block of Borst Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WRECK

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports both driver’s escaped without injury but a 2014 Kia Forte was totaled when two vehicles collided at the intersection of Bishop and Rush roads south of Chehalis yesterday afternoon. A deputy called about 4 p.m. learned Samantha Johnson, 25, from Centralia, was east bound on Bishop in her Jeep Grand Cherokee and Douglas Lawson, 50, of Glenoma, was headed north, according to the sheriff’s office.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for shoplifting, breaking husband’s cell phone during dispute, drugs in which no information was readily available; responses for misdemeanor theft, minor collision on city street, non-injury accident on county road, graffiti scratched into a shop window … and more.