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Lewis County online for sale site leads to robbery at Capitol Mall

Monday, February 23, 2015 at 12:51 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A group of Centralia-area residents are in trouble after they allegedly robbed two individuals who thought they were meeting at the Capitol Mall in Olympia to purchase a car advertised on a Lewis County online for-sale site.

The victims were going to buy a Honda Accord for $1,500 but were approached in the parking lot by two males armed with handguns, according to the Olympia Police Department.

They relinquished the cash they’d brought and then followed a red VW Jetta the men got into and called 911, according to police.

It happened just before 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Arriving officers caught up to one of two backseat passengers who ran away on foot and other officers stopped the Jetta as it entered the onramp to Highway 101, according to police.

The female driver and a juvenile passenger were detained.

Arrested and booked into the Thurston County Jail for first-degree robbery were the driver, Kirstan A. Flat, 19, of Chehalis, and Joshua L. Meza, 18, from Winlock, according to police. Lt. Jim Costa initially described the group as from the Centralia area.

The juvenile in the front passenger seat was later released to a parent, and Costa said he’s not sure what the juvenile’s involvement was.

Police this morning were actively searching for the fourth suspect who had fled the car on foot, according to Costa.

No injuries were reported and it’s not clear if the suspects actually had an Accord to sell.

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Mystery of Onalaska coffin revealed, again

Saturday, February 21, 2015 at 7:44 pm
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The coroner and his deputies take a look at a casket stuck in a creek off the Newaukum River just east of Onalaska.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

ONALASKA – The caravan left the coroner’s office at 8:30 a.m., sharp, today.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod and nine members of his team set out on a mission to retrieve a casket discovered partially submerged in a creek last weekend, get it opened up and deal with whatever they found inside.

If it contained somebody’s loved one, the work would begin to figure out who it was and how to get them and their coffin back into their original burial plot.

If it was empty but suspected of once containing a body, McLeod would still have to find out who the previous occupant was, where they had previously been laid to rest and then tell their family that the remains had likely slipped out and been carried downstream.

When he visited the site earlier this week, he could see the lid was damaged, and knew it was possible any remains had been swept away.

The area, a little more than three miles east on state Route 508, beyond Onalaska’s center, has seen flooding several times in recent years.

The hope was, McLeod would find clues that the steel container was the one that once belonged to a pirate.

A SeaFair pirate, who until a few years ago lived near the South Fork of the Newaukum River, with the help of his wife, transformed a never-yet-used casket into fancy outdoor storage for bottles of liquor, ice and whatever bounty such men would need when they sat around a campfire and smoked cigars.

Susan and Pat Patterson lost their casket-turned-bar after a flood several years ago.

The property where they once lived is, as it turns out, one or two addresses upstream from the caravan’s destination.

Robert and Robin Bryan relocated last summer to a home on seven acres on the south side of state Route 508.

He said today, a neighbor notified him the other day he’d found a casket in the creek behind their home. His wife said they needed to report it to authorities.

“I told him, if there was somebody still in it, they needed respect, needed dignity,” Robin Bryan said.

The caravan arrived just before 9 a.m. to the Bryan’s property, and with shovels in hand, the coroner’s team set out.

Robert Bryan and his 8-year-old granddaughter Crystina Rollins, accompanied them down a brushy, muddy path to the creek.

“You can see it just beyond that sink,” he said.

Previous flood events have left a variety of odd objects in the shallow creek.

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The bottom side of the river-colored steel casket shows an orange-ish tint. Deputy Coroner Sarah Hockett says she can’t see inside, even though it appears one half of a “split-top” may be missing.

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Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod sees the arriving half dozen members of Lewis County Search and Rescue just before 9 a.m. and points to their target.

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Deputy Gabe Frase, red plaid, brings a cable out to attach to the coffin. Chains are wrapped around it. A couple of neighbors have joined those on the creek’s bank to watch.

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Deputy Sgt. Alan Stull pilots the Polaris four-wheeler, a piece of equipment obtained from the military, which has been outfitted with “tracks” to replace its wheels. He revs up the motor as he begins to pull, and the casket starts to rise from its resting place.

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The news media is there.

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Stull pauses, as deputy coroners decide they must dig around the casket first to loosen it further from the grip of the creek bottom. Stull then resumes pulling it toward him.

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The casket has been flipped right side up. “I’ve always wondered what’s in that,” Onalaska Elementary School third-grader Crystina Rollins says. “I’m hoping nothing.” Deputy Curt Spahn pries up the top of the casket.

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They see a mound of mud and gravel inside.

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The see what they think is an ice bucket inside. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Coroner’s Office

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Bingo. They pull out pieces of particle board, with holes bored out, just the size a bottle of rum could sit in. Mystery solved. “This is good,” McLeod says. “We didn’t want it to be somebody.” The time is 10 a.m.

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Deputy coroners examine the interior further. I don’t know why. Maybe hoping to find some pirate loot.

They decide to leave the casket where it lay.

“It’s not occupied, so I don’t have a problem with it,” Robert Bryan said.

The members of the search and rescue team return to their day of winter training elsewhere in the county.

Long time coordinator of the group, Sheriff’s Deputy Gene Seiber said, before departing, he does not recall the Patterson’s pirate casket turning up after the big 2007 flood.

If several years from now, the container is swept away again and found again, it won’t be a closed casket that causes another mystery, since it doesn’t have a lid, Seiber suggested.

Robin Bryan brings out cinnamon rolls for the coroner’s group.

Mission accomplished.

Postscript: Robin Bryan calls a news reporter to say she informed her landlord of what transpired. The landlord handles the estate of the man who previously resided there, and has died, she said.

“She got quite a laugh out of it,” Robin Bryan said. “She said, ‘It’s still there? He knew all about it.’ ”

The former owner had discovered the casket on his property at one time in the past, and reported it, Robin Bryan said. And then it was just left there, she said.

“She got a big laugh out of it, and said I’m so glad you handled that,” she said.

•••

For background, read:

• “Coffin discovered in Lewis County creek” from Tuesday February 17, 2015, here

• “Search and rescue to attempt recovery of partially submerged coffin” from Friday February 20, 2015, here

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, February 20, 2015 at 2:55 pm

TOOLS TAKEN, AND FOUND

• A 40-year-old Centralia man was arrested for trafficking in stolen property after police were called to the Lewis County Mall late Wednesday afternoon when someone shoplifted a cart full of tools from Sears. An officer identified a suspect and recovered some allegedly stolen tools at two residences in Centralia, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Alfredo G. Becerril was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police. He was charged by prosecutors yesterday with the same offense and ordered held on $10,000 bail.

SOMEONE ELSE’S PLATE

• A 36-year-old Federal Way resident was arrested about 10 p.m. on Wednesday at Interstate 5 near Mellen Street for possession of a stolen license plate, and its registration tab, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FRAUD

• Police were called on Wednesday to the 1600 block of Military Road in Centralia regarding unlawful access to a debit card account. An unspecified amount of cash was taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police took possession of a counterfeit $50 bill that someone tried to spend at Jack-in-the-Box on Wednesday afternoon. They came through the drive-through and left without getting their meal, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police took a report about 10:40 a.m. yesterday from the 200 block of South Silver Street of tires that were slashed during the night.

LITTLE ROOF FIRE

• Firefighters were called about 8 o’clock yesterday morning to the 300 block of West Fourth Avenue in Pe Ell for a fire at a home. A neighbor had seen it and called it in, according to Lewis County Fire District 11. They suspect something from the chimney the night before had landed on the roof and smoldered, Fire Chief Michael Krafczyk said. The resident sprayed the roof with a garden hose and pretty much had it out before the crew arrived, the chief said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, hit and run, trespassing, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute,  misdemeanor assault, misdemeanor theft, a refrigerator dumped off in a yard in the night … and more.

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Search and rescue to attempt recovery of partially submerged coffin

Friday, February 20, 2015 at 11:52 am

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Susan Patterson’s son called her the other day, laughing so hard he could hardly talk.

“He said, ‘It’s back’,” Patterson said.

“I said, ‘What? What’s back?” she said.

“The casket,’ he said.

And she laughed too. She’s still laughing.

“That thing is just going to haunt me forever,” Patterson said.

It’s a long story.

The Patterson family at one time owned a steel, never-before-used casket. The slightly damaged container meant for the dead had been languishing in the Fife warehouse of a shipping company where her son worked.

The Onalaska woman jumped at the chance to take possession of it.

It was the perfect enhancement to a spot on their property they called Pirate Cove. A place with a fire pit where her husband Pat and his SeaFair pirate friends would hang out and smoke cigars, she said.

The now-retired couple moved from West Seattle, home of the infamous group, to Onalaska years ago. Pat Patterson, now 72, has been a pirate for 38 years.

She replaced its lining with a skull and cross bones print fabric and they transformed the casket into a bar. It sat on a couple of logs. Beneath one end of the “split top” was storage for liquor bottles and the other half held a cooler, she said.

They only had it a year, maybe two, she said.

It disappeared during one of the floods, she couldn’t remember for sure which one, she said.

But it’s reappeared twice, and she feels almost certain the one that turned up over the weekend in a creek off the Newaukum River belongs to her family.

“That thing just keeps coming back, every time I think it’s gone, it comes back,” she said.

Patterson said she spoke to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and the coroner earlier this week.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod learned of the find on Sunday. He and members of Lewis County Search and Rescue plan to attempt to recover it on Saturday morning. It’s on private property, a hike through fairly rough terrain, he said.

McLeod described the found coffin as steel gray, partially submerged, the foot end driven into the creek bottom, almost as if deposited there by raging floodwaters.

He said he couldn’t tell if it was occupied or not.

Patterson recalled theirs as maybe bluish-gray.

The first time the Patterson’s casket-turned bar disappeared might have been around 2006 during a flood. She recalled telling her husband over a cup of coffee that if anyone found it, it could be disturbing, so they placed a note on a community bulletin board in town: If anyone finds a casket, contact the Pattersons.”

“The boys searched and searched for months,” Patterson said. “Nick, my grandson found it out in the woods, standing straight up, but buried in the mud.”

They couldn’t dislodge it, so they left it where it stood.

The following year, they were flooded again and while they were cleaning up, they got a knock and their door. It was a sheriff’s deputy, she said. Asking about a casket.

“He said, ‘Yeah, I guess that last one knocked it loose, it’s now lodged downstream at the neighbor’s’,” she said.

Her recollection was it was stuck and never recovered.

Another flood hit in January 2009, and this time they lost everything. Their home was condemned. The couple moved to the other end of Onalaska.

“I never really thought about that casket after that,” she said.

She told her husband earlier this week the casket has risen again. She almost 100 percent sure it’s theirs, she said.

She told the coroner they don’t want it back.
•••

For background, read “Coffin discovered in Lewis County creek” from Tuesday February 17, 2015, here

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Dog killed in Centralia home invasion

Friday, February 20, 2015 at 8:27 am
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Dustin Palermo’s security video captured images of three individuals heading for his front door.

Updated at 8:56 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CENTRALIA – Police are looking for three males who barged into a Centralia home last night, demanded money and shot a dog.

Centralia police say one of the subjects fired a number of times at the pet, killing it but none of the residents were injured.

The suspects then fled and are still at large, according to the Centralia Police Department.

It happened about 10:35 p.m. on the 1200 block of Marion Street, at the north end of town, according to police.

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Misty, the golden colored dog on the right, in a snapshot with Bruno.

Dustin Palermo said he and his girlfriend had just settled into bed to watch a movie, when he heard a thump on the door.

“My door’s flying open, these black men rush in, shooting guns, screaming,” he said. “They shot up my room and killed my dog.”

The 35-year-old Centralia native said they were shouting about money and weed and rummaging through things. He shoved his girlfriend into a corner and told her not to move, then pushed a jar of cannabis on the floor toward the intruders, he said.

They were in and out in about 30 seconds, but it seemed much longer, he said.

The firearm was described as a handgun.

Palermo said his two pit bulls were inside with him and his 25-year-old girlfriend. Misty was just protecting her family he said.

“The male, Bruno, he’s taking it pretty hard,” he said.

Detectives are working on the case.

Detective Patty Finch said they have no idea of the motive at this point.

“The victims don’t claim to know the suspects, there’s not a clear picture as to why they were targeted,” Finch said this afternoon.

They processed the scene, interviewed witnesses and recovered some shell casings. They’re not sure yet how many shots were fired, she said.

Palermo’s mother lives in the main house on the property, with his four children and three other of her grandchildren.

Pam Vasquez said she was out with a girlfriend, but the youngsters, ages 10 to 18, were upstairs in bed when it happened. She rushed home after getting a phone call and found several police cars there, their dog dead on the front porch.

“It was just crazy,” she said. “I never would have expected this, in Centralia.”

Palermo said he thinks one of the males was probably in his mid-20s, but has no idea who they were or why they came to his house.

The large extended family has lived on the property where Marion Street turns to Little Hanaford Road for about four years. His “house” is actually a roughly 300-square-foot shack Vasquez says was the original homestead. Palermo created a bedroom on one side.

On the other side, he has a small amount of medical marijuana growing, for himself and another patient, he said. The former Navy corpsman said he uses it for anxiety and chronic back pain. He came home from Iraq in 2003, he said.

But he didn’t feel like that’s why they were there, he said.

“I don’t know if it’s because we went to the casino the night before and won some money, I don’t know if it was random,” he said.

The family showed police their security video. Palermo looked at it again this morning.

It shows the men drive off in a small two-door car, almost like a Honda Accord or a Saturn, with a spoiler on the back, he said. Finch said the car was said to have a loud muffler.
•••

CORRECTION: This has been updated to reflect the correct time police were called.

 

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Five friends work at installing a new front door late this afternoon.

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The car seen leaving is described as a dark-colored passenger car with a loud exhaust.

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News brief: Griel Road residents plead not guilty in marijuana case

Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 7:37 pm
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James and Laveta Arnold, left, appear before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Onalaska couple charged with growing lots and lots of marijuana at their rural property pleaded not guilty today.

James L. Arnold and Laveta L. Arnold were arrested on Feb. 10 following an investigation by Centralia Police Department’s Anti-Crime Team and the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office into alleged money laundering.

Prosecutors allege they generated about $136,000 a year selling what initially was grown as personal medicinal marijuana.

Police seized more than 40 pounds of marijuana and 614 plants from an indoor garden, along with  cars, trucks, firearms and a den full of mounted animal heads from their home on Griel Road.

The couple were accompanied this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court by Kent attorney Bradley G. Barshis. At least 11 friends, family and supporters sat behind them.

They are free on bail.

In the brief hearing, they pleaded not guilty to manufacture of marijuana, possession with intent to to deliver and with money laundering.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello said he and their lawyer agreed to modify their conditions of release to allow for travel in all of Washington and also northern Oregon, as they have business and ill family to tend to.

Both the Arnolds and their attorney declined to comment outside the courtroom.

A trial was scheduled for the week of May 4.
•••

For background, read “Onalaska arrests: Big medical marijuana enterprise funded African safaris, say police” from Friday February 13, 2015, here

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Toddler’s body lingers at morgue more than four months

Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 1:28 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – While a judge last month authorized the release of the body of a 3-year-old boy whose October death has been ruled a homicide, it remains at the Lewis County Coroner’s Office because the parents don’t agree on which funeral home to use.

Coroner Warren McLeod is asking a judge to intervene.

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Jasper Henderling-Warner

“This is something we’ve never come across,” McLeod said. “All I want is for Jasper to be released so he can be at rest.”

Jasper Henderling-Warner died from what the coroner called chronic battered child syndrome. The Vader couple who were caring for him, Danny and Brenda Wing, remain jailed pending a trial.

McLeod said his office has been in contact with the child’s mother, Nikki Warner who lives in the Vancouver area and his father, Casey Henderling who resides in Kelso. They are not married. The two agree Jasper should be cremated and his ashes split between them, McLeod said.

She wants to use a mortuary in Battle Ground, he’s picked out one in Longview, he said.

McLeod said state law allows him to release a decedent to the surviving parents, but doesn’t specify anything further such as the parent who has custody. He’s holding on to the body until he knows which funeral home to turn it over to, he said.

Last week, McLeod filed a civil action in Lewis County Superior Court. McLeod on Tuesday said he understands the papers would be served upon each parent this week. Then they have 20 days to respond.

The mother told detectives she and the Wings agreed they would be his guardians for a year beginning at the end of July, that she was homeless and traveling out of state to look for work.

Jasper died Oct. 5; the Wings were arrested Nov. 7 and charged with homicide by abuse; or, in the alternative, first-degree manslaughter.

The coroner said his office kept the boy’s body following the autopsy, in case defense attorneys wanted to conduct a second examination, which sometimes happens. On Jan. 28, McLeod was notified he no longer had to hold Jasper for the criminal case.

He said his office has been in contact with Jasper’s parents by phone, by email and even tried to get them in a room together to settle their disagreement.

“We’ve gone as far as we can go, we’re at an impasse,” he said.

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Read about changes at Medic One, Toledo Fire Department …

Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 12:00 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Winlock’s Town Crier reports the board of Lewis County Medic One eliminated the position held by Grant Wiltbank, who has long been the face of the shared ambulance service.

Reporter-editor Stephen Floyd writes the move came at a Tuesday regular meeting amidst funding challenges and a lettering detailing a no confidence vote from the medics’ union members.

The group, originally the Interlocal Organization of Lewis County Fire Districts 2, 7 and 15 serving the areas of Toledo, Vader-Ryderwood and Winlock, grew to provide services in central Lewis County. Recently Lewis County Fire District 5 in Napavine began contracting with AMR instead.

Floyd also writes Wiltbank was terminated in December as chief of Toledo’s Lewis County Fire District 2.

For more, read “Medic One eliminates role of operations chief” from Tuesday Thursday February 17, 2015, here

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News brief: Three men on the short list for Centralia police chief

Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 10:49 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Three police chief hopefuls were interviewed yesterday in Centralia as the city continues its work to replace outgoing Chief Bob Berg.

The men include Centralia Police Department Cmdr. Jim Rich, Capt. Carl Nielsen of the Turlock (California) Police Department and  Lt. Maury Richards of the Chicago Police Department.

Centralia City Manager Rob Hill said this morning he will probably make an offer to one of them early next week.

Twenty applications from the nationwide search that began in December were narrowed down to five finalists who were interviewed by city department heads and select community members on Tuesday.

Berg is retiring in May.

The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs has been assisting with the recruitment and hiring process.

•••

For background, read “Police chief hopefuls undergo two days of questioning in Centralia” from Wednesday February 18, 2015, here
•••

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James Rich

 

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Carl Nielsen

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Maurice Richards

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News brief: Oakville house burns, no one hurt

Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 8:46 am
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Smoke billows from single-story house near Oakville. / Courtesy photo by Grays Harbor Fire District 5

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Four fire departments battled a blaze that broke out yesterday outside of Oakville, destroying a single story home and its contents.

“No injuries, just an extremely broken up family,” Grays Harbor County Fire District 1 spokesperson Shawn Burdett said.

The fire at Southbank Road and Craftdale Road about four miles northwest of town was reported by a neighbor about 12:48 p.m., Burdett said.

It spread throughout the house rather quickly, he said.

The cause is not yet known, he said.

The department was assisted by Grays Harbor Fire District’s 5, 2, 12, West Thurston Regional Fire Authority and Riverside Fire Authority hauling water with a half dozen tenders.

“I just want to say we all are tremendously thankful to the other agencies,” Burdett said. “Without their help, this would have been much worse.”

Burdett said he hoped to have more information later to release.

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Police chief hopefuls undergo two days of questioning in Centralia

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 6:01 pm
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Centralia City Manager Rob Hill, wearing cap, huddles with the five finalists for police chief after a public gathering at the train depot.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CENTRALIA – In suits, ties and shiny shoes, they chatted, shook hands and answered questions from a small number of people who came out to meet them last night; the five men hoping to become Centralia’s next chief of police.

The short meet and greet in a conference room at the Centralia train depot followed a day of interviews from one panel of department heads and another comprised of select members of the community.

Newly elected Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza said he was kind of excited to see who would end up getting the job.

“We’re fortunate to have this caliber of candidates,” Snaza said. “We’re all about us working together.”

Snaza was one of five who had spoken to the finalists earlier in the day. Joining him in the interviews were Jenny Collins, executive director of the Visiting Nurses Foundation; Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer; Lacey Police Department Chief Dusty Pierpont; and Centralia College Athletic Director Bob Peters.

Centralia City Manager Rob Hill likewise seemed enthusiastic about the quality of the individuals he has to choose from.

“I’m pretty confident our next chief will come out of this group,” Hill said.

Centralia Police Department Chief Bob Berg is retiring in May, after 11 years in the job. With assistance from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, the city began a nationwide search in December, and screened applications from 20 individuals.

The pay for the head of the department with 31 commissioned officers in Lewis County’s most populated city was advertised as between about $100,000 and $122,000.

Two of the group come from the banks of Lake Michigan.

James Held has been chief of the Lake Forest (Illinois) Police Department for almost three years, an organization with 40 sworn officers.

Thirty miles to the south, Lt. Maury Richards has been with the Chicago Police Department for 23 years.

Carl Nielsen is a captain, and second in command at the Turlock Police Department in California’s central valley.

Closer to home, Rod Baker comes from the Pierce Transit Police Department, which he created. Baker is on a yearlong sabbatical to get his degree in criminal justice administration

And from inside the Centralia Police Department, Cmdr. James Rich is hoping to become its next chief.

Rich, with 33 years of law enforcement experience, said the agency has made huge strides in the past 10 to 15 years. He wants to help see it continue down that path, he said.

Hill planned to conduct his interviews today, and expects to do his background checking in person, on one or more of his final choices, he said.

He has no set date for when he will make his decision, he said.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 1:30 pm

Updated at 7:33 p.m.

CANINE SLAIN, RELATIVE ARRESTED

• Deputies arrested an 18-year-old Randle resident yesterday for allegedly shooting his grandfather’s dog. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office says it happened about 11:25 a.m. in a driveway on the 100 block of Kelly Lane in Randle, and was possibly in retaliation for an earlier incident. The 2-year-old Labrador-Pit Bull mix was struck twice and died at the scene, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. Brown said when deputies subsequently contacted the suspect on Kiona Road, he said he was someone else, so he was arrested for obstruction and animal cruelty. Kolby G. Mullins was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office.

BURGLARY CENTRALIA

• Centralia police took a report of a burglary to a business on the 500 block of North Tower Avenue about 11:30 a.m. yesterday.

MISSING CANOE FOUND, ONE ARRESTED

• A 35-year-old homeless man from East Lewis County was arrested yesterday for five counts of trafficking in stolen property, in connection with a November burglary at the 100 block of Chapman Road in Morton. Some of the property recovered includes a canoe, fishing poles and a chainsaw, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Brian J. Elmore was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office. He was released with no charges filed, pending further investigation.

VEHICLE PROWL

•  Police took a report yesterday morning of a vehicle prowl at the 900 block of Northwest State Avenue in Chehalis in which someone shattered a window with chunks of concrete, and tried to pry out the radio. Nothing appeared to be missing, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The damage is estimated at $1,000, according to police.

FRUSTRATED INMATE IN TROUBLE

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said an inmate yesterday who got upset because a button got stuck on a telephone kiosk, took a broom handle to it causing approximately $1,100 in damage. In the inmate’s own words also, “because he hadn’t had caffeine in months,” Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. The case against Sean M. Ferrel, of Bremerton, is being referred to prosecutors for a charge of second-degree malicious mischief, according to the sheriff’s office.

DRUGS

• A 63-year-old Olympia resident was arrested for possession of methamphetamine overnight after contact with an officer about 2 a.m. at the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. Fred L. Campbell was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• Bail was set at $15,000 for a 19-year-old Pe Ell resident accused of taking three guns plus ammunition from a Pe Ell home, giving one of them to a 16-year-old to go shooting with and then putting the others back in a shed on the property. Brady A. Clair, also known as Brady A. Jenkins, was arrested on Friday and went before a judge yesterday afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court. According to charging documents, a break-in was reported early last week by a caretaker of a residence on the 700 block of Main Street in Pe Ell. The allegations go on to state the town marshal spoke to the 16-year-old boy and his mother on Friday, who said Clair told him he stole the .22 revolver and two other handguns from a military veteran. The boy gave the marshal the gun, who also recovered the other two weapons, according to the documents. Clair, who was previously convicted of a felony possession of an incendiary device, was charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, with possessing a stolen firearm and with delivery of a firearm to an ineligible person. Defense attorney Joely O’Rourke told the judge her client is engaging in an educational program at Pe Ell High School and not employed and therefore qualified for a court-appointed lawyer. Don Blair was appointed to represent him. Charging documents make note that Brady’s mother on Saturday told the marshal she found information in her son’s Facebook messaging where he reportedly told an individual he has 29 or 30 handguns and rifles buried in the woods outside Pe Ell. His arraignment is tomorrow.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license, driving under the influence; responses for alarm, dispute, hit and run, shoplifting, protection order violation, suspicious circumstances, possible child abuse, complaint of someone leaving cat poop on a doorstep … and more.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 3:33 pm

PANTS DOWN IN WAL-MART

• A 64-year-old man from Oregon was arrested after he was observed in the men’s department in Wal-Mart with his pants down, touching himself. An officer responding about 8:30 a.m. on Friday to the retailer on Northwest Louisiana Avenue arrested James W. Webb, from Eagle Creek, Oregon, for indecent exposure, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

PANTS DOWN ALONG CITY STREET

• A 41-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for indecent exposure after she was seen with her pants down in public off 13th Street near Market Boulevard in Chehalis on Friday afternoon. Kristine M. Hiatt was intoxicated and was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

BREAK-IN CENTRALIA

• Centralia police responded about 5:45 p.m. yesterday to a report of a burglary at a home on the 400 block of South Silver Street where games and gaming equipment were stolen. The victim was able to possibly identify a suspect and this case is still under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BREAK-IN CHEHALIS

• A Chehalis area resident discovered on Saturday that someone cut the padlock on her outbuilding and stole various personal property including a sander, weed eater, gas can, spray guns. She told a deputy it must have happened sometime during the previous month at the 1000 block of Coal Creek Road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Chehalis police were called about 2 p.m. on Friday after a resident returned home to see her front door ajar and a male standing inside the front door of her apartment. “He tried to say he was looking for a cat or a dog, she told him to get out and he left,” Chehalis Police Department detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said. “Nothing was missing.” It happened at the 1900 block of South Market Boulevard, according to police.

MISSING UNDERCLOTHES

• Chehalis police took a theft report on Saturday evening from a guest at a motel on the 100 block of Southwest Interstate Avenue. They said they returned to their room, found it had been cleaned and discovered items missing from inside a backpack, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Gone was a Visa card, perfume and new underwear, according to police. The case remains under investigation.

HARASSMENT WINLOCK

• A 54-year-old Winlock man was arrested over the weekend for allegedly making threats to a relative. It happened on Sunday and was associated with the 100 block of Harkins Road in Winlock, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Stacy Brown. Booked into the Lewis County Jail for harassment and unlawful possession of a firearm was Roger D. Debaere, according to the sheriff’s office.

DRUGS

• A 30-year-old Centralia resident was arrested for possession of methamphetamine yesterday morning following contact with an officer at the 200 block of North Railroad Avenue in Centralia. It was about 8:10 a.m. when Ryan E Morehouse was arrested for an outstanding warrant and search turned up a smoking device that field-tested positive for meth, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

SLASHED TIRES

• Chehalis police were called about 10:40 p.m. on Saturday to the 300 block of Northwest State Avenue where a female discovered all four tires ion her vehicle were flat. They were punctured, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, misdemeanor  assault, driving with suspended license, driving under the influence, anti-harassment order violation; responses for alarm, dispute, hit and run, runaway juvenile, suspicious circumstances, collisions on city streets and county roads … and more.

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Coffin discovered in Lewis County creek

Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 2:16 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A casket was found wedged in a Lewis County creek over the weekend and authorities don’t yet know whether it contains a body.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said he was notified of the discovery on Sunday night and waded out to take a look at it yesterday.

“We can’t tell if it’s occupied or not,” McLeod said.

The steel gray casket is partially submerged, the foot end driven into the creek bottom, almost as if deposited there by raging floodwaters, he said.

He’s meeting, probably tomorrow, with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue coordinator to make a plan to pull it out, he said.

He has no idea how long it’s been there.

McLeod said it is a creek off the Newaukum River, on private property, but wouldn’t disclose the location.

“I don’t want people going there,” he said.

It could be that it washed out of a burial spot on private property upstream or it could be something that someone owned and was never used, he said.

McLeod said he’s been making inquiries and is unaware of any public cemetery in the area, but he is checking with the county health department which would have registered any burials on private property.

The lid is damaged, he said, and it’s even a possibility any remains it contained have escaped. He won’t know until they retrieve it, he said.

McLeod said he has learned that steel caskets sometimes have a tube attached to the exterior, inside which a funeral director would have placed identifying documents if it had been used for a burial.

It was found by somebody who likes to fish on the Newaukum, and was out walking on a neighbor’s property checking out damage from the last flood, he said.

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Chehalis fiscal analyst in trouble for tax evasion

Monday, February 16, 2015 at 2:17 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Charging documents in the case of a Lewis County business accused of stealing for failing to remit $46,000 in sales taxes suggest the company’s troubles began when it fell into default on its tax obligations.

BK Rife Enterprises LLC opened in 2002, specializing in pole barns, garages and cement work, and over time got behind on its taxes, so in September 2008, the Washington State Department of Revenue revoked BK’s certificate of tax registration, according to the documents.

Edward and Karina Rife were co-owners, but it was Karina who interacted with the state agency over the years, seeking to reinstate the certificate, according to authorities.

Karina Rife, 43, is charged with first-degree theft, second-degree perjury and engaging in business with a revoked tax registration. Her court file shows a Chehalis address.

The criminal charges were filed Jan. 29 and Karina Rife appeared before a judge on Friday afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.

Defense attorney Joely O’Rourke told the judge her client is a state employee, working as a fiscal analyst for the investment board, bringing home about $3,000 per month which supports herself, her husband and her child. O’Rourke said the situation meant Karina Rife qualified for a court-appointed lawyer.

Charging papers state she was informed the process to get the certificate of tax registration reinstated included paying the back taxes due as well as posting a bond, and told more than once that operating without the certificate was a felony.

But she indicated the business was not operating, or that it had only done a few isolated jobs, according to the documents.

The state alleges she knowingly filed falsified tax returns between 2007 and 2013 to hide the company’s business activity.

Charging documents allege BK operated continuously until 2013, with most of its invoices showing sales tax charged to and collected from its customers. The information came from a tax examination after the state agency discovered building permits had been issued for contracting work done by BK.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Eric Eisenberg said Karina Rife is the only one of the two owners charged with the crimes, because the state has evidence she was put on notice of the various issues.

Local attorney Jacob Clark will represent her. Her arraignment is scheduled for Thursday.
•••

For background, read “News brief: Local builder faces theft charges for failing to remit sales tax to state” from Wednesday February 11, 2015, here

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, February 16, 2015 at 8:00 am

Updated at 11:32 a.m.

AUTO THEFT

• Centralia police report an abandoned stolen vehicle was recovered about 4:45 a.m. today in connection with  location at Tilley and Walnut streets.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police took a report of a vehicle prowl at the 3000 block of Borst Avenue about 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

THEFT MOSSYROCK

• Police report a load of firewood was stolen from the 200 block of State Street in Mossyrock sometime between Feb. 5 and Feb. 7. The loss is $100,  according to the Morton Police Department.

DRUGS

• A case involving a 49-year-old Longview woman is being referred to prosecutors for a possible charge of possession of methamphetamine in connection with a 9:20 p.m. police response last night to the 1200 block of Alder Street in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department.

GOLDILOCKS?

• Morton police report they were called about noon time last Wednesday on the 100 block of Aberdeen Road after the resident discovered someone had come inside their home while they were away. Nothing appeared to be missing and police have no suspects, according to the Morton Police Department.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• Jence S. Sawyer, 23, Chehalis, is scheduled to be sentenced on March 11 after pleading guilty to reduced charges, related to two cases that brought him back to Lewis County last month from North Dakota where he was working. Sawyer pleaded guilty to second-degree assault for an incident on May 16, 2014 in which he  admitted he grabbed his estranged girlfriend with the intent to not let her go. Prosecutors initially alleged he tried to have sex with her and unlawfully imprisoned her at his home. The then-20-year-old woman told police she she finally crawled out a bedroom window with her baby after Sawyer refused to let her leave his residence on the 3100 block of Jackson Highway. Sawyer pleaded guilty as charged at the same time in Lewis County Superior Court last Wednesday to third-degree rape of a child in connection with an encounter the November before with a 15-year-old girl he befriended in Packwood.

• A 32-year-old Lacey woman will have an opportunity to make her pleas in Lewis County Superior Court on Thursday  for allegedly stealing jewelry three years ago while she stayed at the home of a Chehalis area woman. Kelly K. Davidson was charged in May 2012 and an arrest warrant issued for second-degree theft and first-degree trafficking in stolen property. The victim contacted the sheriff’s office after discovering her mother’s sapphire ring and numerous other items of value were missing, and said after she confronted Davison, Davidson denied taking anything and left the residence in the middle of the night, according to court documents. The jewelry turned up at Tumwater Pawnbrokers LLC, according to the documents. Davidson was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail on Wednesday and then on Thursday a judge allowed her to be released pending trial on a $10,000 unsecured bond. Defense attorney Joely O’Rourke said Davidson is unemployed and her husband’s income as a mason supports their family of five. She said she never received her summons to court in 2012, O’Rourke said.

• A 26-year-old man is charged with second-degree assault for allegedly swinging a metal pipe at the head of an acquaintance who reportedly showed up to an apartment on Lewis Street in Centralia when Malone was moving out of the home he’d shared with a woman back on Feb. 1. Charging documents state Aaron D. Malone contacted the woman, said he was removing property from their shared apartment and she needed to be there. When she showed up with two men, Malone allegedly attacked one of them with the bar, but the man was able to block the repeated blows with his hands, court documents state. Malone left before officers arrived, but was arrested last Wednesday. Defense attorney Joely O’Rourke told a judge on Thursday her unemployed client lived with his father and bail was set at $15,000.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license, driving under the influence; responses for dispute, misdemeanor theft, protection order violation, collisions on city streets … and more.

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Onalaska arrests: Big medical marijuana enterprise funded African safaris, say police

Friday, February 13, 2015 at 8:55 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police seized cars, trucks, firearms and a den full of mounted animal heads from an Onalaska couple who allegedly admitted using proceeds from an overgrown personal medicinal marijuana operation to generate approximately $136,000 per year.

When James L. Arnold and Laveta L. Arnold were contacted last week at their home on the 200 block of Griel Road, they told officers they’d been growing it for more than 15 years, but during the past five have been selling it for profit, according to the Centralia Police Department.

A search warrant was served last Thursday morning, with Centralia police, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office deputies and the SWAT Team.

They turned up more than 40 pounds of marijuana processed and packaged  for sale with a street value of at least $2,000 per pound, according to police. In a shop building, they located what police described as an elaborate indoor garden with 614 plants, according to police detective Patty Finch.

The state medical marijuana law allows for up to 15 plants or 24 ounces for a qualifying patient.

According to court documents, the couple initially agreed to cooperate with law enforcement, but a detective learned James Arnold was warning people he had said he’d help apprehend, and they were arrested on Tuesday.

The Arnolds were charged in Lewis County Superior Court with manufacture of marijuana, possession with intent to to deliver and with money laundering on Wednesday. Prosecutors contend it occurred within 1000 feet of school grounds and while armed with deadly weapons.

Detective Finch says the case will also be referred to the Internal Revenue Service for investigation of possible tax fraud and to state authorities for business tax evasion.

Bail was set at $25,000 for James and at $10,000 for Laveta. Their arraignments are scheduled for next Thursday at 3 p.m.

According to police and court documents, James, 55, owns Alpha Marine Installations based at the home, is a vice president of a medical marijuana dispensary in the Olympia area called Urban Medicinals as well as another location in the Tacoma area.

Among the five vehicles seized were a 1948 Ford hot rod pickup and a 1969 Chevy Corvette, according to Finch. The 33 guns included hunting rifles, assault rifles and handguns, Finch states.

Finch says Arnold admitted to purchasing all or part of the vehicles with proceeds from his marijuana growing operation, as well as financing numerous hunting safari trips to Africa to hunt large trophy animals.

Approximately 30 mounted animal heads were also taken from the home.

Law enforcement officers collected computers, personal and banking records and growing equipment along with some personal property and cell phones that all appear to be proceeds from the growing operation, according to Finch.

Court documents state Centralia Police Department’s Anti-Crime Team and the sheriff’s office opened a money laundering operation regarding the couple in between December and January, related to the sale of marijuana. Finch said in a news release last week’s search warrant followed several months of investigation.

The couple has no previous criminal history, according to their court files.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, February 13, 2015 at 6:35 pm

ASSAULT

• A 17-year-old Chehalis boy was arrested after a deputy responded to W.F. West High School on Wednesday afternoon where they talked with his ex-girlfriend who said he’d taken her to his house, and assaulted her because he was angry she had been hanging out with another guy, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The teenager said she’d gotten into his truck by the football field and she asked him to take her back to the school but he didn’t, according to the sheriff’s office. She said she locked herself in the bathroom and escaped out the window, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. The 17-year-old was contacted and arrested for third-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment, and booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center, Brown said.

THEFT FROM YARD

• Someone stole a yard cart from a fenced backyard on the 500 block of South Cedar Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police on Wednesday.

THEFT FROM PORCH

• Police were called to the 100 block of West Plum Street in Centralia on Wednesday afternoon regarding the theft of various items from a porch, including a candle holder, a table top fountain and a gas can.

THEFT FROM VEHICLE

• Centralia police took a report yesterday afternoon from the 200 block of East High Street regarding a stolen license plate.

VANDALISM

• An officer responded about 2 o’clock this morning to the Bank of America at the 100 block of South Pearl Street about slashed tires.

LOST AND FOUND

• Chehalis police were called about 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday to Rite Aid on the 500 block of South Market Boulevard where someone had left a bag of marijuana in the store. No need to try to claim it, it was brought back to the police department for destruction, according to police.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, protection order violation, driving with suspended license, driving under the influence; responses for alarms, report of child molestation, suspicious circumstances, collisions on city streets … and more.