Posts Tagged ‘By Sharyn L. Decker’

Former jail sergeant admits three felonies, gets immunity regarding inmate treatment

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A fired Lewis County Jail guard was given a 90-day jail sentence today following a plea deal in which local prosecutors agreed not to file any charges of assault that could have occurred during his time as a corrections officer.

Trevor S. Smith was terminated last summer for mistreatment of two inmates, conduct his superiors wrote “shocks the conscience and could be viewed as violating basic civil rights possessed by all human beings regardless of status.”

Smith was arrested about two weeks later at his home in Chehalis for something unrelated however, for allegedly snooping into secure jail computer records. Computer trespass is a class C felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Smith was hired at the sheriff’s office in 2004 and promoted to jail sergeant in 2011. The inmate issues were investigated internally.

His June 27, 2014 termination letter and related documents show Smith was disciplined for directing that an inmate be kept in a restraint chair for approximately twelve hours without food, water or restroom breaks.

Also, after Smith directed the discharge of pepper spray into the closed cell of an inmate with mental health issues, the inmate was not offered a wet towel, a shower or any decontamination for more than five hours; the cell had no running water, according to the sheriff’s office.

Mark McClain is a former Lewis County deputy prosecutor who was elected in November as Pacific County prosecutor, and returned today for Smith’s hearing.

As part of the deal, prosecutors dropped two of the five counts of computer trespass, McClain said.

McClain said the sheriff was involved in the resolution of the case, and went along with it, acknowledging “the good things Mr. Smith did for the sheriff’s office.”

McClain and Defense attorney Shane O’Rourke said the state agreed not to pursue any collateral investigations as part of the plea agreement.

McClain asked the judge to lock Smith up for 90 days.

O’Rourke recommended his client be allowed to serve his time on electronic home monitoring.

O’Rourke said Smith qualified for several reasons. He’s working, for UPS; he’s going to school, getting an online MBA; and has partial custody of his children.

O’Rourke said his client doesn’t believe there was excessive force even in the civil context or the context of his profession.

As to the reason prosecutors would agree to not pursue criminal charges:

“If I was going to speculate, it would be because it doesn’t amount to criminal assault,” O’Rourke said.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt ordered Smith to begin 90 days on home monitoring by Feb. 17.  He was given credit for one day, for the roughly 28 hours he spent in jail when he was arrested, according to his lawyer.

Smith declined a request by a reporter for comment after the hearing.

For background, read:

• “Lewis County Jail sergeant let go for mistreating inmates, then arrested for computer snooping at work ” from Wednesday July 16, 2014, here

• “Sheriff’s Office: Fired corrections officer allowed inmates to suffer” from Friday July 18, 2014, here

Napavine dad will go to prison for shaking, injuring his baby

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Napavine area father who gave his 4-month-old daughter a bruised brain was sentenced today to 16 months in prison.


Tyler C. Abair

Attorneys on both sides recommended 14 months, but Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt chose the top of the standard range.

Tyler C. Abair was convicted earlier this month of third-degree assault following a plea agreement.

Abair was arrested last spring, a month after an incident in which he said the infant choked on formula and stopped breathing. The 23-year-old father acknowledged that he shook her, but also said that he was terrified and didn’t know CPR, according to court documents.

The baby’s mother, in a letter read aloud to the judge today by the baby’s grandmother, asked that Abair be given the maximum amount of time.

“I fear for my children,” she said. “She nearly died and suffered a great amount of pain.”

Before his arrest, Abair stayed home and cared for their twins while the mother worked.

The grandmother told the judge the family is struggling to understand why Abair didn’t call 911 and didn’t take infant CPR classes as the mother had.

Court documents referenced a doctor who indicated the child exhibited classic but not severe signs of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Prosecutors have said the child has recovered.

Prosecutors initially charged Abair with first-degree assault  but as the case progressed, decided the evidence didn’t show first-degree assault.

He was also given eight months for an unrelated second-degree theft, with his time to be served concurrently, according to Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead.

Abair has already been locked up for eight months in the Lewis County Jail.

For background, read “Father admits he shook his infant child, didn’t know CPR ” from Thursday January 15, 2015, here

Centralia logger killed near Oakville leaves behind close-knit crew

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Erin L. VanBrocklin doing a “super hero” pose out in the woods in an undated photo.


By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Erin L. VanBrocklin grew up in Bellingham.

“He’s always worked, he’s always been in the logging industry,” his younger sister said.

He was in his late 20s, or maybe early 30s, when he moved away from his family and down to Centralia to start a new life for himself, she said.

He was locked up for about six years, after he robbed or tried to rob a man in Rochester, until his release two years ago in February, Tori Banek said.

“He had an addiction, but he got cleaned up in prison,” Banek said. “And we learned so much about him in the week before his funeral.”

VanBrocklin, 41, was killed in a logging accident outside Oakville earlier this month. His funeral was held in Chehalis last Saturday.

Banek, a middle school teacher who lives in northeast Oregon, said she came to learn that her brother was very close to the three crew members who tried to save his life.

“These men lived with Erin,” she said. “They called him dad, and Erin called these three men his kids, because Erin mentored them.”

One of them told her they met in prison, when VanBrocklin gave him a cup of coffee – something unexpected from fellow inmates – and told him, that if he wanted to change his life, he would give him a place to live and a job, she said.

“Erin made him want to change, something his parents couldn’t do for him,” Banek said.

Banek so cherishes a text message sent to her by the co-worker nicknamed Spider, that spoke of how inspiring her brother was, that a longtime drug dealer who thought he would return to that life, decided not to.

VanBrocklin was the second in a line of six children, a large family that is so grateful to the logging company owners who were willing to give him a second chance.

His family has now recently gotten to know how loved he was by his crew, his pastor and many others in the Centralia area, his sister said.

“That gave us so much peace,” she said. “Because his life wasn’t always on the straight and narrow.”

VanBrocklin was working with a B and M Logging crew the morning of January 10. He was bucking a log. Others were rigging up a yarder, according to the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office

A log that broke loose and rolled down the hill crushed him.

His fellow workers had to cut him out, and they placed him a stretcher and drove six miles to where they met an ambulance. Medics tried to save him but he was pronounced dead.

“Erin’s crew was one of the top crews in the company,” Banek said. “They were all the underdogs, and these three men were with him.”

Another funeral will be held next month in Bellingham, on his birthday which is Feb. 14.

There were seven work-related logging deaths in Washington state last year.

Four of them occurred in Lewis County.

For background, read “Centralia resident dies in logging accident in Grays Harbor County” from Tuesday January 13, 2015, here

Suspected Chase Bank robber believed to have numerous similar convictions

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – He may have used a bicycle for a getaway vehicle but the man arrested yesterday may have quite a bit of experience holding up banks.

Prosecutors say it appears Larry G. Bailey has three, maybe four, federal convictions for bank robbery, going all the way back to 1988 in Washington and Kansas.

Bailey, 52, is accused of being the man who walked into Chase Bank in Chehalis yesterday, implied to the manager he had a gun as he reached into his coat pocket and got into the bank’s vault where he was handed $36,000 to $40,000 cash.

Bailey was apprehended about 45 minutes later less than a mile from the bank, leaving his BMX-style bicycle and scaling one fence and nearly a second one ending up on the shoulder of Interstate 5 at the West Street overpass.

Police say Bailey just arrived in the area few months ago, and shows an address on the 1500 block of Bishop Road.

His federal probation officer informed prosecutors they would be placing a detainer on him, as he is in violation of his probation, according to court documents.

He was charged in Lewis County Superior Court today with first-degree robbery and possession of methamphetamine.

Prosecutors planned to ask a judge to hold Bailey on $1 million bail, given no apparent ties to the community and his history.

But he refused to be brought up from the jail.

A corrections officer told the judge this afternoon that Bailey was suicidal and not agreeing to talk to anyone.

Judge Nelson Hunt said he didn’t like to do it, but Bailey would have to be forced to come to the court room tomorrow afternoon.

“Tomorrow, if he won’t come up, we’ll need to have him brought up in the chair,” Hunt said.

The chair, according to both lawyers in the courtroom, is something they haven’t themselves seen used in Lewis County, but is something a defendant can be restrained in and moved in.

According to charging documents, Bailey made no secret of his past.

After his arrest, he was taken to see a doctor for injuries prior to being booked.

Firefighters said he hurt his forehead when he crashed his bicycle. Charging documents mention he ran through barbed wire while trying to evade authorities.

While being treated, Bailey told officers this was his fourth strike, although one of them was before the new law took effect, but he knew he would be going away forever, charging documents state.

He talked about how he had done time in prison, and how this was the first time he’d gotten a teller to take him inside the vault, the documents state.

“Bailey spoke about methamphetamine and how it was the devil,” the documents state.

Meanwhile, for background, read “Thirty-six thousand dollars retrieved from accused bicycle bandit after robbery” from Tuesday January 27, 2015 at 10:40 p.m., here

News brief: Last year breaks record for safe disposal of old meds

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza, left and Undersheriff Wes Rethwill, pose with a drug drop off bin inside the lobby of the Lewis County Law and Justice Center.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Newly elected Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza is suggesting people bring in their drugs.

Expired and unwanted medications, that is.

The sheriff’s office in late 2010 set up drop off sites, in hopes of reducing the potential for unused meds to fall into the hands of children, teenagers or adults who might misuse them.

Since they began keeping the numbers early the following year, more than 1,500 pounds of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications have been properly disposed of, according to Chief Deputy Stacy Brown.

The amount of drugs safely disposed of through the Drug Drop Box Program has increased each year, according to Brown.

Last year, the sheriff’s office collected almost 483 pounds, compared with almost 243 pounds in 2011.

Snaza says, in a news release today: “By using secure drug drop boxes instead of leaving expired or unused medications lying around we keep them out of the hands of teens and people who shouldn’t have them. We are also avoiding contaminating water sources by not flushing them down the toilet.

This program has been very successful and we encourage people to continue to utilize the drop boxes.”

Between them, the sheriff’s office and other agencies have five of them around Lewis County.

Bins for safe disposal are located at:
• Lewis County Law and Justice Center, 345 W. Main St., Chehalis
• Centralia Police Department, 316 N. Pearl Street, Centralia
• Morton Police Department, 260 Main St., Morton
• Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Packwood substation, 12990 U.S. Highway 12, Packwood
• Winlock Police Department, 323 N.E. First Street, Winlock

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015


• Chehalis police were called about 10:15 p.m. yesterday to the 200 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue after an individual sent an acquaintance to get something out of her car and he drove away in it. Officers soon came upon Cody L. Snyder, 23, of Chehalis, and booked him into the Lewis County Jail for taking a motor vehicle without permission, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• A deputy took a report of the theft of a Stihl chainsaw model 660 from an unsecured garage and a Fender guitar with case from a truck that doesn’t lock at the 900 block of state Route 7 outside Morton. It happened sometime between 11 p.m. on Sunday and 8 o’clock yesterday morning, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• Chehalis police took a report yesterday about an overnight vehicle prowl on the 200 block of North Market Boulevard in which two drills with chargers were stolen from a  truck.

• Morton police took a report of a vehicle prowl on Saturday afternoon at the 300 block of Adams Avenue, in which the victim said someone got into their unlocked car and took a purse containing approximately $140 plus various credit cards.


• A 49-year-old Centralia man was arrested yesterday evening after a deputy conducted a traffic stop on an ATV pulling onto Tietzel Road, an ATV which had a rifle on its front rack. The deputy had responded to the area because an individual was concerned about a possible trespasser on an ATV on a neighbor’s property, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Deputy Stacy Brown indicated the deputy had reason to believe Michael J. Hunter may not be allowed to possess a firearm, but Hunter said he had documentation at home showing his gun rights were reinstated. Hunter was unable to produce the paperwork after the deputy followed him back to his residence, so he was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, Brown said.


• Morton police were called to a home in the 100 block of Laurel Street in Mossyrock about 5:40 p.m. on Thursday when the resident called to report that someone had been knocking on the door then running off. The area was checked but no one was located, according to the Morton Police Department. The resident was advised to call back if it happened again.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants; responses for misdemeanor theft, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, something bigger-than-a-cat coming out of a ditch and chasing a person in the dark by the Lewis County Mall … and more.

Thirty-six thousand dollars retrieved from accused bicycle bandit after robbery

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The man arrested following yesterday’s bank robbery in Chehalis is a 52-year-old who just arrived in the area a few months ago.

Police recovered $36,000 cash when they arrested Larry G. Bailey, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

The BMX-style bicycle he was riding and wrecked shortly before he was apprehended less than a mile from the bank has been taken into police evidence. As has the pinkish-purple floral print cloth bag he apparently brought with him to put the money in, according to police.

Bailey has a Chehalis adress.

Police swarmed toward Chase Bank yesterday morning after a 10:45 a.m. call that the business on South Market Boulevard near Seventh Street was robbed. A dog track was conducted. Three nearby schools were alerted for lockdown.

Nobody at the bank was injured, but the man forced an employee to take him into the bank’s vault, police said.

Chehalis Police Department spokesperson Linda Bailey, no relation to the suspect, said he implied he had a gun, but no gun has been located.

The suspect was discovered within the hour, traveling on a bicycle crossing the West Street bridge overpass.

The floral bag with the money was inside a backpack, Bailey said. Also discovered among his belongings was a suspected methamphetamine pipe, she said.

Bailey said she believes the suspect is the same Larry G. Bailey who was arrested in November after a campfire destroyed his tent and all his belongings where he was living next to Interstate 5 at LaBree Road. That 52-year-old was cited for reckless burning.

Bailey was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree robbery, for first-degree kidnapping and a drug violation, according to police. The kidnapping allegation comes from taking the bank employee into the vault, police said.

He is scheduled to go before a Lewis County Superior Court judge this afternoon.


For background, read “Chehalis Chase bank robbed, one in custody after fleeing on bicycle” from Monday January 26, 2015 at 1:10 p.m., here

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, January 26th, 2015



• A Centralia resident who allegedly interfered with a traffic stop last night, arguing with the officer when 31-year-old Anthony O. Bernstein, also of Centralia, was being cited for driving with a suspended license and failure to transfer a vehicle title, was himself arrested. Police say William B. Bernstein, 44,  drove up to the approximately 10:40 p.m. incident at Harrison Avenue and High Street. The older Bernstein was arrested for with obstructing and, driving with a suspended license, according to the Centralia Police Department. Both men were issued their citations and then released, according to police.


• Centralia police were called about 10:30 a.m. yesterday to take a report of a burglary to a garage on the 1300 block of Windsor Avenue. Tools and a bicycle were taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 73-year-old Cinebar area man reported someone got into his unlocked shed on the 100 block of Madden Road and stole a bench grinder valued at $35 sometime between 8 p.m. on Friday and 10 o;’clock the following morning, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• Chehalis police took a report on Friday from an individual who discovered that someone used their social security number to open a bank account in Missouri and another in San Francisco. It apparently took place sometime since 2012, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• Chehalis police were called on Saturday about a purse stolen from a vehicle on the 400 block of Division Street while its owner was incarcerated.

• Chehalis police were called on Friday about an attempted vehicle prowl on the 1300 block of Southeast Washington Avenue in which someone broke a door handle.


• Police took a report on Saturday from an address on the 800 block of Southeast Washington Avenue in Chehalis where during the night someone took red spray paint to the window of a vehicle.

• Police took a report on Friday from an individual at the 800 block of Northwest Duffy Street in Chehalis whose tire was slashed.


• Centralia police arrested a 20-year-old Chehalis man last night for second-degree assault for allegedly punching a man in the face several times and breaking his nose, in connection with the Saturday night party on the 2200 block of Earl Street. Ronald C. Travers Jr., was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department, but was released today with no charges pending further investigation. It was about 11:30 p.m. on Saturday when police were summoned to a large fight in front of the house and ended up arresting 42 individuals, mostly between the ages of 18 and 20, who were mostly Centralia College athletes and students, for minor in possession.


• A 24-year-old motorist was cited for second-degree negligent driving yesterday afternoon after he looking out his window at an officer on a traffic stop and ran into a Honda Accord, hitting it so hard it pushed the Honda into a tow truck. It happened about 3:15 p.m. on the 800 block of West Reynolds Avenue, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A 17-year-old girl from the Honda was transported to the hospital for neck pain, according to the sheriff’s office.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, no contact order violations, shoplifting and other misdemeanor theft, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, suspicious circumstances, loud neighbor music, collision on county road, finding an unknown individual sleeping on a front porch … and more.

Chehalis Chase bank robbed, one in custody after fleeing on bicycle

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Customers come and go after Chase Bank reopens this afternoon for business.

Updated at 2:20 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police detained a man riding a bicycle following a bank robbery this morning at Chase Bank in Chehalis.

Officers responded about 10:45 a.m. to the 600 block of South Market Boulevard.

“Initial information was the suspect was no longer in the area and a description was given,” the Chehalis Police Department stated in a news release.

It appears the robber implied he had a gun but one was not shown, according to police.

Law enforcement officers from Chehalis, Centralia and the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office set up containment and searched the area. A police dog discovered various pieces of clothing near the bank, suggesting the individual was trying to change his appearance, shedding clothing as he fled, according to police.

Schools in the are area put on temporary lockdown, according to police.

An individual matching the suspect’s description was later seen on a bicycle north of there near the West Street overpass by a helpful witness, who pointed a deputy in his direction, department spokesperson Linda Bailey said.

The subject crashed his bike and banged his forehead, scaled one fence and was attempting to scale another when the deputy apprehended him, according to authorities.

Evidence located on the subject as well as statements made lead police to believe they apprehended the person responsible for the robbery, the 12:45 p.m. news release reads.

“At this point, we believe the individual acted alone,” police wrote.

Fire department personnel responded to the shoulder of the west side of Interstate 5 near the West Street overpass to bandage up the man, and police took him to the hospital, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

Bailey said nobody at the bank was hurt.

“Shook up, but no injuries,” she said.

The schools – R.E. Bennett Elementary, Cascade Elementary and St. Joseph Catholic School – were notified at 11:45 a.m. they could end their alert, according to Bailey.

Some money was recovered she said. An unspecified amount of cash was stolen, the bank is still doing its inventory, according to Bailey.

The matter remains under investigation.

Chase Bank was robbed in the spring of 2013, by a 54-year-old Kelso man who was followed by officers down Interstate 5 into Cowlitz County, and was arrested as money was falling out of his shorts’ pocket onto the ground.

It was also robbed a year earlier by a pair of local men who got away briefly with less than $2,500, moments after a failed attempt at the nearby Twin Star Credit Union – which keeps no cash in its drawers.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, January 25th, 2015


• Police arrested 42 underage individuals, mostly Centralia College athletes and students, when they broke up a party after responding to a report of a large fight in front of a home on the 2200 block of Earl Street last night. Officers responded about 11:30 p.m. to what was said to be approximately 30 individuals fighting, but as they arrived, everyone ran back inside the residence, according to the Centralia Police Department. “It was discovered that several student athletes from the Centralia College athletics department were throwing the large alcohol and marijuana party,” police stated in a brief summary of the incident. The hosts were under 21, and had been drinking alcohol, according to police. As had their guests. In all, 40 people people between the ages of 18 and 20 were arrested for minor in possession, according to police. Two 17-year-old girls got in trouble for the same offense, police report. One adult male suffered injuries to his face, and police continue to investigate the assault. Two of the attendees were also arrested for warrants. Further details were not readily available.


• A 23-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for obstructing a public servant in connection with an incident at Locust and Peal streets in Centralia around 8:24 p.m. yesterday. Rita Armendarez was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license … and more.


CORRECTION: The number of people arrested for minor in possession has been updated to 42 instead of the 46 that police initially and erroneously reported.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Saturday, January 24th, 2015


• A 43-year-old Centralia resident was arrested overnight after allegedly punching an individual and then threatening them with a knife at the 100 block of South Tower Avenue. Officers responding about 1 o’clock this morning report that Ryan L. Wining also kicked out the back window of a police vehicle. Wining was arrested for second-degree assault and second-degree malicious mischief and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A 49-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and warrants after contact with an officer around 8 p.m. yesterday at the 700 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. John M. Davis was  booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Centralia police were called about 5 p.m. yesterday to the 700 block of North Tower Avenue to take a report someone used another person’s social security number to file a false tax return.


• Fire broke out at the home of a volunteer firefighter with West Thurston Regional Fire Authority overnight, destroying the double-wide manufactured home and leaving several pets deceased. Firefighters responding about 12:30 a.m. to the 2700 block of Maytown Road were met with a thermal column of smoke and found the residence well-involved in flames, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. The family, that includes three daughters and three dogs were uninjured, but two small dogs, three cats, one ferret and their fish did not survive, according to a department spokesperson. The roadway was shut down until after 4 a.m. Mutual aid was provided by three neighboring fire departments. The homes is described as a total loss.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for misdemeanor theft … and more.


Numerous pets perished in overnight fire at the the 2700 block of Maytown Road. / Courtesy photo by West Thurston Regional Fire Authority

New sheriff to focus on professionalism for his office

Friday, January 23rd, 2015
2015.0122.lcso.annual.meeting.7059 copy

Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza is backed up by his appointed leadership team as he addresses his employees.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

NAPAVINE – Newly elected Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza took the stage yesterday in front of his employees offering some insights into his priorities over the next four years.

With a new sheriff comes a new motto, vision and mission, he told them.

The motto: “Public safety through professional service.”

“What it really means, it’s what we’ve been doing,” Snaza said.

The 49-year-old Napavine area resident and longtime member of the sheriff’s office introduced his chosen undersheriff, Wes Rethwill, who retired as a captain from the Washington State Patrol to join Snaza’s team. Snaza described Undersheriff Rethwill as someone with a ton of experience he’s known many years.

“About three and a half years ago, we met and talked about this,” Snaza said. “He’s an incredible individual, and he took a chance on me.”

Rethwill told the assembled group he was very excited and proud to get back to his roots, noting that in the early days of his career, he worked as a reserve sheriff’s deputy.

“My job is to get you folks the tools you need, so you can better serve the citizens of the county,” Rethwill said.

The afternoon gathering took place in the expansive sanctuary of Bethel Church of the Assemblies of God in Napavine, as previous sheriff’s office annual meetings have been. While the parking lot was filled with patrol vehicles, a half dozen state troopers were covering the roads for the deputies.

“I could not be here today without all of you,” Snaza said.

He spoke of less segregation between the operations side and the corrections side of the office. He spoke of upcoming leadership training for the newest employee all the way up to the top.

Joining him on the stage for most of the program was his chosen command staff.

Along with Rethwill, were newly appointed Field Operations Chief Bruce Kimsey, continuing Corrections Chief Kevin Hanson, continuing Special Services Chief Stacy Brown, continuing Director of Property Management Isabelle Williams, newly appointed Field Operations Commander Dusty Breen and Corrections Captain Jim Pea. Longtime Administrative Assistant Sherri Guenther is part of Snaza’s leadership team as well.

In the audience were two of former Sheriff Steve Mansfield’s command staff, Cmdr. Steve Aust who is now the detective sergeant and former Chief Criminal Deputy Gene Seiber who will work as a detective.

Sheriff Snaza plans for deputies to work more closely with school children, implementing an Adopt-a-School program.

“I made a commitment during my campaign to our youth,” he said.

He spoke of how they can help the young people of the county see how the sheriff’s office is important to them.

Much of the afternoon was spent on the sheriff and the undersheriff handing out the numerous annual awards to employees and also two citizens. Among them, he gave Guardian Awards to two individuals.

“These are my awards,” Snaza said.

To Corrections Officer Kevin Dickey, for “(G)oing out there everyday and fighting the good fight for all of us, through drug court.”

To Detective Duke Adkisson, and his commitment to the community: “He will find you, hunt you down and take you to jail,” he said.

The others follow:

Employee of the Year
• Corrections Bureau: Corrections Officer Bill Wood
• Corrections Bureau Support Staff: Support Technician Noel Sharp
• Field Operations Bureau: Deputy Curt Spahn
• Special Services Bureau: Support Technician II Robin Merchant

Top Performer
• Corrections Bureau: Corrections Officer Stan Langland
• Field Operations Bureau: Deputy Gabe Frase

A Sheriff’s Unit Commendation was awarded to the Corrections Field Training Officer Team:
• Sergeant Joyce McCoy
• Sergeant Ricky Claxton
• Corrections Officer Sean Heppe
• Corrections Officer Tawnya Scharber
• Corrections Officer Gary Allen
• Corrections Officer Andrea Lowe
• Corrections Officer Tifanie Reynolds
• Corrections Officer Seth Sharp
• Administrative Assistant Carrie Breen

Citizen Service Medal
• Community members Clifford and Christine Clark were both recognized for generosity in donating over $10,000 to the Shop with a Cop Program.
• Darris McDaniel of Shop n Kart received this for the generosity of his ongoing donations to the Lewis County Memorial Fund, Shop with a Cop, and Lewis County Youth Scholarship Fund.


Employees of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office line up for professional group photo.

News brief: Weed woes

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – He said it wasn’t his and even though it was discovered inside his vehicle after impound, troopers were unable to make a clear enough connection to arrest the 24-year-old Tacoma man for possession of marijuana.

So they didn’t.

Zequane J. King was stopped early last week in Lewis County and was found to be driving with a suspended license, so he was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Washington State Patrol. Trooper Will Finn said a subsequent search of the vehicle turned up roughly one and a half ounces of marijuana.

2015.0123.mj_.photo_.jpgKing was adamant it didn’t belong to him, according to Finn.

Under the new law, it’s lawful for a person 21 or older to have up to one ounce.

Since troopers couldn’t establish ownership, the marijuana was put into safekeeping, the same way the state patrol would for a purse or other valuables from any impounded car, according to Finn.

Yesterday however, King arranged to meet up with the state patrol evidence custodian at the office in Chehalis, to retrieve his property, Finn said.

“He explained to the custodian he was calling to make arrangements to get possession of his marijuana that had been placed into safe keeping,” Finn said in a news release.

Once King signed paperwork stating the marijuana was his and took possession of it, he was arrested once again, this time for possessing a felony amount of marijuana, Finn said.

He was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

This time, the marijuana was placed in to the state patrol’s evidence system as evidence, according to Finn.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, January 23rd, 2015


• Chehalis police took a report yesterday afternoon from an individual who left his vehicle parked at the 300 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue and subsequently discovered it was stolen. Missing is a silver 1998 Nissan pickup truck, according to the Chehalis Police Department. It has a license plate of B29186Z, according to police.


• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports it is investigating an attempted burglary at a golf shop at the 100 block of Newaukum Golf Drive in Chehalis in which someone broke a window, to an upstairs office. Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said someone had pushed a golf cart from under the porch cover and climbed on it to gain access to the roof, where they broke the window and removed it from its frame. It happened  at 4:11 a.m. on Wednesday, according to Brown. Nothing appears missing, she said.


• Police were called about 1 p.m. yesterday to the 300 block of Southwest James Street in Chehalis where someone who didn’t belong there was seen exiting a travel trailer. It’s not clear if anything is missing and appear as though someone was maybe trying to stay out of the weather, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• An officer was called to the 900 block of Harrison Avenue about 8 p.m. yesterday where someone had stolen a security camera from the outside of a building.

• Centralia police took a report about 8:30 p.m. yesterday regarding a GPS unit stolen from a vehicle on the 1000 block of South Gold Street.


• Graffiti was discovered on a fence on the 600 block of East Locust Street in Centralia yesterday and also on a garage on the 400 block of North Iron Street, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Chehalis firefighters were called to a chimney fire about 5:10 p.m. yesterday on the 300 block of Ninth Street. The homeowner had shut the door on the fireplace insert and it was out when the crew arrived, according to the Chehalis Fire Department. “A reminder to make sure your chimneys are clean, that was the issue here, a buildup of creosote,” Fire Capt. Kevin Curfman said.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, violation of no contact order, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for misdemeanor assault, suspicious circumstances, shoplifting and other misdemeanor theft, suspicious injury to a child … and more.

Police: Jealous woman stabs self, blames Centralia man

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 30-year-old woman who allegedly stabbed herself and blamed it on a Centralia man remains free on $10,000 unsecured bond following an appearance yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court.

Amy D. Moore is charged with malicious prosecution and also felony harassment for events that took place in mid-November. The case was filed Jan. 2 and she was summonsed to court.

Charging documents state Centralia police interviewed Moore at an Olympia hospital where she told them Michel Dobbs stabbed her three times in the chest, with one of the wounds puncturing a lung.

“She told police she would be handling the situation herself and had been in contact with several people, including Robbie Russell,” the documents state. Officers made it clear they would continue to investigate however, the documents state.

Police arrested Dobbs, and he told them Moore became enraged after showing up at his home and finding him in bed with another female, and that she grabbed two or three steak knives and began cutting her own hair and stabbed herself, according to the allegations.

Charging documents state Dobbs provided police with the hair she cut off as well as Facebook messages between the two in which she admitted the wounds were self-inflicted.

Moore told police the argument was over a letter she sent her father.

Court documents say the following day, Dobbs found a note written on a piece of wood on his doorstep that he was going to die, and that a female named Tammy Twidwell began receiving threatening text messages.

Defense attorney Joely O’Rourke noted to the judge yesterday afternoon her client was student at South Puget Sound College and not working, so she qualified for a court appointed attorney.

Moore has a Tumwater address.

During the hearing, Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt indicated Moore could not have any contact with the complaining witnesses.

O’Rourke requested they be allowed to have contact because they planned to be married next week.

Judge Hunt said no. A man who had been sitting next to Moore in court got up and left.

Moore was ordered to undergo administrative booking at the jail. Her arraignment is scheduled for next Thursday.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Updated at 8:29 p.m.


• Chehalis police responded the the Washington State Employees Credit Union on Northeast Kresky Avenue about 3 p.m. yesterday after two males showed up and said they were with the city and wanted to look at the building’s plumbing and electrical. Police were told the men didn’t have city identification, but did have driver’s licenses from out of state, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Officers viewed photos of the suspects and tried to locate a vehicle, but to no avail, according to police. Turns out it was like a “secret shopper” situation organized by the bank, and through a glitch, the branch wasn’t notified as they should have been, according to department spokesperson Linda Bailey. Police learned this morning it was a training exercise they do with their branches, Bailey said.


• The Texaco on the 100 block of U.S. Highway 12 east of Napavine is missing a 2002 U-Haul International car dolly valued at $1,500, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports this morning. The last time it was known to be in the business’s inventory was on Dec. 22 and is believed to have been returned by a customer sometime between then and Tuesday and parked in front of the store next to the highway, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Chehalis police were called to the 300 block of Southwest Pacific Avenue yesterday about a missing black powder rifle. It disappeared the night before sometime between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and may have just been borrowed, but its owner is concerned if anyone tries to use it they could be hurt because it has a crack in the barrel, according to the Chehalis Police Department. It was described as silver colored with a wooden stock, according to police.


• Someone broke into a mailbox overnight at the 1100 block of Kresky Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.


• Centralia police were called about 8:15 a.m. yesterday about the tagging of an apartment building on the 400 block of North Ash Street.


• Chehalis police yesterday took reports of three more vehicles with their windows smashed out and/or prowled along the 400 blocks of Northeast Adams and Southwest William avenues.


• An arraignment is set for next Thursday for a 21-year-old Centralia man charged with second-degree robbery who allegedly took cash from his girlfriend and threatened to punch her when she tried to get it back on Monday. Nevarone N. Rubin was arrested on Monday following the incident in Centralia and charged Tuesday in Lewis County Superior Court. Charging documents state the girl’s father left her $260 cash and when Rubin showed up, he grabbed it from a table, and the two struggled for a brief moment. A judge set his bail at $10,000. He qualified for a court-appointed attorney.

• A 33-year-old Winlock man remains held on $50,000 bail following his arrest on Monday for an incident in early November in which and another man allegedly barged into an acquaintance’s residence in Toledo demanding valuables. Kyle E. Rogers was brought before a judge yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court where he is charged with second-degree robbery. Charging documents allege a visitor answered the door and two men wearing bandanas burst in; one named “Nick” threatened them with a beer bottle and Rogers punched the resident in the face. The men reportedly took three computers and fled. Charges were filed on Dec. 30 and an arrest warrant issued when Rogers’ whereabouts were unknown, according to court documents. A Lewis County deputy prosecutor recommended to the judge yesterday afternoon the bail be left at $50,000, given that Roger’s history included two assaults, eluding, witness tampering plus juvenile offense. The judge agreed. His arraignment was set for today.


• A 35-year-old Packwood woman was arrested overnight for driving under the influence after she reportedly ran a stop sign and struck a utility pole on the 100 block of Timberline Drive in Packwood. Deputies responding about 12:20 a.m. booked Dawnette M. Wicks into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants; responses for dispute, disorderly person, misdemeanor assault, suspicious circumstances, lost or stolen license plate, collision on county road, landlord finding more than 100 syringes laying around a residence after evicting a tenant … and more.

Telephone bandit strikes twice in Chehalis

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – They didn’t sneak in to burglarize her home while she was away, or hack into her bank accounts through the internet, but someone managed to bilk an 81-year-old Chehalis woman out of thousands of dollars.

Twice, in less than two months.

In December, she lost about $23,000, after receiving a phone call telling her she was the winner of a $2.5 million lottery and a new car. She was told she needed to pay for taxes and the vehicle registration and sent money to individuals in other states.

When Chehalis police learned of the theft, they weren’t optimistic about recovering any of it.

The scam, using old fashioned technology like a telephone and the U.S. mail worked out well for the unknown thieves, but very bad for the elderly victim.

On Friday, an officer was called to the same woman’s home again, and learned she was tricked out of another nearly $15,000.

It was clearly the same people, according to Officer Steve Nikander. At first she said no, but they convinced her they could get her money back, Nikander said.

“All she had to do is send more money, that she did win the car and the lottery,” he said. “The exact same thing, two months in a row, and she believed them.”

“It’s horrible, it’s sad,” he said.

Nikander said the victim lives with her grown daughter, who works and goes to school.

“She’s elderly, she’s alone a lot,” he said. “I think she’s just a very trusting lady.”

Some of the details are unclear, as she was embarrassed, and not very forthcoming because of that, he said.

She apparently increased the limit on her credit cards and got cash advances.

The first time, she sent money orders, but her daughter had seen one and asked about it, Nikander said.

So this time, they told her to buy a greeting card and tuck the cash inside, he said. She did.

She mailed money to addresses in California, Ohio and Massachusetts, he said.

He speculated how someone might use fake identification to rent a private mailbox for a month, and once their scam is finished, just walk away.

Solvability with such schemes is difficult at best, Chehalis Police Department detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

Detectives would need to confirm the identify of the thief before sending a police agency in another state to try to track them down, he said. These are the kind people who don’t use their real names, according to Wilson.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has had at least two similar thefts just this month. One was someone pretending to be a grandson who needed emergency money, and the other was someone telling an 83-year-old Winlock woman she had won a new vehicle.

Nikander sat down with the Chehalis victim and her grown daughter and talked about options, the tough kind of conversation about powers of attorney, maybe counseling, maybe a visit to her doctor, he said.

He took a report for informational purposes, and what can be done beyond that, he didn’t know.

There are literally millions of dollars a day lost in phone scams, he said.

“The best offense is education, to not let it happen in the first place,” he said.

His advice for anyone and everyone with elderly family members is to make sure to school them about a basic fact of life.

“If you have to send money to win, it’s a scam,” he said.