Posts Tagged ‘By Sharyn L. Decker’

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.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Updated at 7:26 p.m.


• A 36-year-old man from Napavine wrecked his car when he swerved to miss a deer, struck a concrete bridge rail, and spun off the roadway into a barbed wire fence yesterday morning west of Chehalis. A deputy responding to the approximately 11:30 a.m. incident on the 200 block of Twin Oaks Road found the driver was uninjured but his 2003 Buick Century sustained major damage, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• Centralia police were called about 10:45 .m. yesterday regarding the theft of a license plate from the 700 block of East Main Street.


• An officer was called about 7:10 a.m. today about a vehicle prowl on Northeast Adams Avenue in Chehalis in which a window was broken out.

• Someone broke a window out of a vehicle on Southwest Third Street in Chehalis, according to a report made to police about 7:20 a.m. today.

• Chehalis police were called about 12:30 p.m. yesterday regarding a vehicle prowl on West Main Street.


• Police were called about 8:10 p.m. yesterday to the 100 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia where someone had damaged the back door on a business.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, misdemeanor assault; responses for alarms, protection order violation, suspicious circumstances, misdemeanor theft, collision on city street, collision on county road … and more.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015


• A 22-year-old Centralia husband was arrested on Sunday for allegedly assaulting his bride of just six weeks, allegedly punching her in the arms several times when she tried to stop him from damaging her vehicle and then choking her until she could not breath while threatening to kill her. Deputies contacted the 19-year-old Centralia woman and found dents in her vehicle, several bruises on her biceps and a red mark on her neck, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He was upset for an unspecified reason, according to the sheriff’s office. Aaron C. Ferner was located walking down down the Harrison Avenue near Main Street and booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree assault and felony harassment, Chief Stacy Brown said.


• A 21-year-old Centralia man who allegedly took an unspecified amount of money from his girlfriend and threatened her with violence to keep it was arrested yesterday for second-degree robbery. Centralia police say Nevarone N. Rubin was booked into the Lewis County Jail following the incident at Tower Avenue and Locusts Street about 7 p.m.


• A 2007 Chevrolet Silverado crew cab was stolen from the 100 block of First Avenue in Randle sometime between 9 p.m. on Thursday and 6:30 a.m. the following day. The victim said it was unlocked and the keys left in the middle console but when it turned up early Saturday morning abandoned in Glenoma, it appeared the ignition had been “punched,” according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Two front tires on the $30,000 vehicle were flat as well, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Chehalis police were called at 10 a.m. on Saturday regarding a vehicle prowl on the 500 block of Northeast Jefferson Avenue. The door and glove box were found open and missing were the registration and proof of insurance, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• A 24-year-old Centralia resident was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and third-degree theft in connection with an approximately 8:30 p.m. incident last night at the 500 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia. Nicolas J. George was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A 42-year-old father was arrested yesterday evening in Centralia for reckless endangerment when he was contacted for allegedly driving under the influence about 7:25 p.m. at the 600 block of Harrison Avenue. John T. Lafon, from Puyallup, had his two young children in the vehicle with him, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.


• A 30-year-old Packwood man was arrested for driving under the influence after a deputy was called to a collision about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday at the 500 block of Cannon Road in Packwood. Christopher L. Bassell was eastbound when he failed to negotiate a curve, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Bassell was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, trespass, shoplifting, hit and run, reckless endangerment, domestic misdemeanor assault, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dog bite, disorderly person, suspicious circumstances, possible child abuse, possible assault of juvenile, shoplifting and other misdemeanor theft, collision on city street, collision on county road, collision in high school parking lot  … and more.

Summertime heroin case proceeds for two defendants

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Phillip A. Pinotti and Zachary J. Maurer have both pleaded not guilty to their drug charge filed earlier this month in connection with an alleged incident last summer.

Pinotti, 22, of Adna, has been in and out of jail and courtrooms since his high profile escape from an attempted misdemeanor arrest at Centralia Municipal Court in December that drew gunfire from an officer.

One of the allegations in that case is when he left his car with two friends, before going into hiding, he grabbed a backpack and another bag, saying he didn’t want to leave his drugs in the car.

While free on bail, he allegedly sold heroin to a person working with police and was charged on Jan. 9 with delivery of a controlled substance, and possession of the same.

Prosecutors the same day also filed charges against he and Maurer of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver based on an incident in August with Centralia police.

According to charging documents, Centralia police had him and Maurer under surveillance as they went to Longview to purchase heroin, and subsequently impounded the vehicle and found heroin, a digital scale and smoking devices. The documents make no mention of either man getting arrested.

Pinotti went before a Lewis County Superior Court judge the afternoon of Jan. 9 when his bail was set at $75,000 bail on each of the two separate drug cases. Maurer was arrested that day, and on the following Monday a judge set his bail at $50,000.

Maurer, 25, has a Centralia address.

Their August contact with police began with a tip from someone described as a reliable source that Maurer would be traveling to Cowlitz County to purchase heroin to sell in Lewis County and Pinotti would be traveling with him, according to charging documents.

Charging documents go on to say that police surveillance was underway when Maurer exchanged someone’s Volkswagen Jetta for a black BMW belonging to Pinotti’s girlfriend. They go on to state that when the BMW returned to Lewis County and pulled into a gas station, the two were contacted by police.

After Centralia police dog Kayo “alerted” to the presence of a suspected controlled substance in the car, and while police waited for a tow truck to impound the car, Pinotti and Maurer were seen conversing, and Pinotti reportedly approached and officer and said he would “take the fall,” charging documents state.

Neither were under arrest and they left, the documents state, without elaborating as to why they were let go.

But a search of the car’s glove box, according to the allegations, turned up numerous items including a canvas bag bearing the name Clarity HD, and inside of it was a working scale, two smoking devices and a rubber container with brown tar.

Also found in the glove box were two “balls” of heroin strewn freely and two more small balls in foil inside an empty pack of Marlboro cigarettes.

The documents state that Maurer is the only one of the two who had cigarettes during the stop and they were the same type, and that he possessed a Clarity speaker that went with the canvas bag.

The amount of heroin seized isn’t mentioned in the documents, only that Pinotti had estimated to an officer that a quarter ounce was purchased, with a $400 wholesale or a $700 street value.

Police also seized cell phones and a moderate amount of cash from each man, according to the documents.

In appealing for a lesser bail for Maurer, defense attorney Joely O’Rourke noted to the judge that while he had a bit of criminal history, his warrant history was very minimal.

Maurer’s trial is scheduled for the week of March 9. Pinotti is scheduled to be back in court on Thursday to set his trial date.

Both remain in the Lewis County Jail.

For background, read :

• “Prosecutor: Pinotti caught with heroin this summer, and again recently” from Friday January 9, 2015, here

• “Sentence: Six days in jail for escape that led to gunfire in Centralia” from Wednesday January 14, 2015, here

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Updated at 2:53 p.m.


• Two men were hospitalized after they were ejected from a motorcycle southbound on Interstate 5 near Vader yesterday.The Washington State Patrol reports they were traveling at a high rate of speed when the driver attempted to pass another vehicle and lost control. The 1994 Harley Davidson slid across the lanes and came to rest on the right shoulder, according to the state patrol. They both were wearing helmets, the investigating trooper reports. It happened about 1:30 p.m. near milepost 57. The passenger, Woody D. Pittman, 33, from Olympia, was airlifted to Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver, according to the trooper. The driver, Thomas C. Gibbs, 58, from Rainier, was reportedly transported to Providence Centralia Hospital. Gibbs was to be cited for negligent driving and other offenses, according to the trooper.


• Centralia police responded just after 9 p.m. on Saturday to the 700 block of Harrison Avenue after an individual came out to her vehicle to find its door open and a “shaved” key stuck in the door lock, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Morton police are still investigating a burglary discovered on Wednesday at a home on the 100 block of Third Street. The homeowner returned after being away for a few weeks to find someone had gotten inside and some items were missing, according to the Morton Police Department. It’s not yet known exactly what was stolen, according to police.


• Officers were called to the area of Division Avenue and Seventh Street in Morton at 10 p.m. on Friday after a suspicious vehicle was seen driving slowly around the neighborhood. Officers made contact with the driver who stated she was looking for her friend’s house, according to the Morton Police Department.


• Newly sworn in Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza wants drivers to use the official detour route around the temporarily closed bridge on state Route 508 at the east end of Onalaska. The South Fork Newaukum Bridge near Magnus Road was shut down a week ago Sunday and residents in the areas of Jorgenson Road, Burnt Ridge Road and Johnson Road have seen an increase in traffic in their neighborhoods due to drivers not using marked and recommended Washington State Department of Transportation detour routes, according to the sheriff’s office. Deputies are increasing their traffic enforcement in those areas, and citizens are advised to follow speed limits and all traffic laws, because safety is important to Snaza, according to a news release. Snaza says drivers should plan ahead and give themselves time to use the official detour, however. The 1930-built bridge carried about 1,400 vehicles each day, according to DOT. Because overweight vehicles continued to cross the aging span, DOT decided to install a temporary bridge until they can begin building a new bridge late next year, a bridge expected to be completed in 2018. The temporary bridge is expected to be ready for traffic on Thursday, according to DOT. Until then, the official detour route for  eastbound drivers is to take Leonard Road to U.S. Highway 12. Westbound drivers should take Cinebar Road to Silver Creek Road (state Route 122) to U.S. Highway 12. Once opened, weight restrictions will be lifted and traffic will alternate directions across the single-lane temporary Bailey Bridge. According to DOT: Stop signs at both ends of the bridge will be in place along with directions for drivers to allow on-coming traffic to clear before proceeding across, and it will be reopen to all legal loads, with a reduced speed limit of 25 mph across the nine-foot wide lane. For the most current information, see DOT’s blog.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, hit and run, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license … and more.


The temporary bridge getting installed about five miles east of Onalaska. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Department of Transportation

This day in Lewis County history

Monday, January 19th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – On Jan. 19, 1995, a local group helped kick off a crime fighting program to collect anonymous tips regarding crimes in the Lewis County area.

The information would be forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency, and if police made an arrest and/or cleared the case, the tipster would be eligible for a cash reward.

Crime Stoppers of Lewis County, a non-profit organization, has continued to work over the past 20 years, leading to the arrests of more than 333 individuals, according to the group.

2015.0118.logo.crimestoppers“The program works, the organization states in a news release. “It works because of strong community support, media advertising and hard work by the police agencies.”

In two decades, the tips have cleared more than 411 cases and recovered stolen property and drugs exceeding $3 million, according to the group.

A board of directors made up of Lewis County volunteer citizens administer the Crime Stoppers program. The board establishes policy, is responsible for fund raising and authorizes rewards.

It’s funded entirely from individuals, corporations, service clubs and business donations.

The way it works is, the group publishes a “Crime of the Week” each week. The information can be found on its web site and is also highlighted by local media partners.

People with information may call 1-800-748-6422 with their tip, and are given a tip number unique to them. Once the board authorizes any reward, the tipsters are notified (via that number) to phone Crime Stoppers of Lewis County.

Tipster are eligible for a reward up to $1,000.

In early 2013, Student Crime Stoppers was created for middle and high school students. School districts in Chehalis have been participating since then and Adna School District joined last year.  The group is hoping to add more school districts to the program this year.

Crime Stoppers signs have been erected throughout the county and more locations are being sought where the owner would allow a sign to be placed.

The organization is also involved in what’s called My ID Club, which creates a laminated card that contains identification with a child’s photo, fingerprint and identifying information and is given to the parent or guardian to put in a safe place in the event it is ever needed.

The group says while its board has worked hard, new members and volunteers are always needed to make the program a success.

Crime Stoppers of Lewis County will mark its 20th anniversary on Tuesday and is showing its gratitude by holding an open house.

“Please stop by, look at the history of our program, enjoy the refreshments, and help us celebrate the success of this program,” the group states in its news release.

Where: Lewis County Law and Justice Building, in the training room on the first floor, at 345 W. Main Street, Chehalis
When: Tuesday, January 20th from noon until 6 p.m.

Cluster of winter fires have common denominator

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Items too close to a wood stove ignited a shop and guest house in Winlock overnight, while the cause of a Grand Mound residential fire is not yet known. / Courtesy photo by Derrick Paul

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 2-year-old child was taken to the hospital last night after fire broke out in a home in Grand Mound.

Firefighters called about 10:15 p.m. to a mobile home park in the 7100 block of 191st Avenue Southwest found flames coming out two of the windows, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority.

“They did a quick knock down but there was still substantial fire, heat and smoke damage to the rest of the (mobile) home,” Fire Chief Robert Scott said.

Crews revived a small dog but the family lost several other pets inside, according to Scott.

The fire’s cause is not yet known, but a cluster of fires in recent days have all been related to heating sources.

Scott said the toddler had slight burns and suffered from smoke inhalation. The child was evaluated by medical personnel and transported by private vehicle to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to WTRFA.

Twenty firefighters from three fire departments battled the blaze and some were on the scene into the early morning hours, according to Scott. He said the family was offered the Red Cross for assistance but for now are staying with a friend in the area.

An investigator was going to be out there today to figure out what caused it, according to Scott.

In Lewis County, an investigator today concluded an overnight fire in Winlock was caused by items too close to a wood stove.

It’s the third time in three days with a similar finding in Lewis County; combustibles too close to a heat source, according to Investigator Derrick Paul.

It’s an important issue for the public to consider, according to Paul.

“Three in three days is too much, as far as I’m concerned,” Paul said. “In these cases it just happened to be wood stoves, but it can happen with baseboard heaters, or space heaters or similar.”

The early morning blaze on Quary Lane north of Winlock did an estimated $110,000 damage.

Firefighters responding about 2 a.m. from Lewis County Fire District 15 and two neighboring districts found a fully furnished guest house and adjoining shop burning, according to Paul.

He said they did a good job extinguishing it in a timely manner but the building and its contents were a complete loss. Also damaged were a travel trailer and a utility trailer parked outside next the approximately 70 foot by 40 foot building, according to Paul.

The owner was working in the shop the evening before, which contained the wood stove, Paul said.

“The cause of the fire was a direct result of combustible items too close to a working wood stove,” Paul indicated this morning.

These fire victims were insured, but the owners of the decimated building he investigated on Friday east of Napavine were not, according to Paul.

The loss to Fire Mountain Farms loss at the 300 block of state Route 508 is estimated at $1.8 million.

The third fire was in Randle, where a little cabin used for storage was destroyed yesterday morning.

It was just a little more than a week ago when the state fire marshal issued a warning to the public, related to home heating sources during the winter and fires around the state.

Four people were killed in two recent residential fires fires caused by portable electric space heaters, according to Deputy State Fire Marshal Lysandra Davis.

Given that the cold winer months are the peak time for such incidents, the fire marshall offered safety tips directed at space heater use.

• Ensure the heater is placed on a stable, level surface, and located where it will not be knocked over.
• Never power the heater with an extension cord or power strip.
• Keep combustible material such as beds, sofas, curtains, papers and clothes at least three feet from the front, sides and rear of the heater.
• Be sure the heater plug fits tightly into the wall outlet. If not, do not use the outlet to power the heater.
• Never operate a heater you suspect is damaged. Before use, inspect the heater, cord, and plug for damage. Follow all operation and maintenance instructions.
• Never leave the heater operating while unattended or while you are sleeping.
• During use, check frequently to determine if the heater plug or cord, wall outlet, or faceplate is hot. If the plug, outlet or faceplate is hot, discontinue use of the heater, and have a qualified electrician check and/or replace the plug or faulty wall outlet(s). If the cord is hot, disconnect the heater, and have it inspected/repaired by an authorized repair person.
• Lastly, make sure you always have working smoke alarms installed in your home.

To learn more about winter fire safety visit the U.S. Fire Administration website at:

Napavine area business fire began somewhere around wood stove

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

The charred commercial structure on the 300 block of state Route 508, just east of Interstate 5 is an uninsured loss. / Courtesy photo by Derrick Paul

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The cause of the fire that destroyed Fire Mountain Farms’ main building and its contents east of Napavine on Thursday night will go down as undetermined.

Fire Investigator Derrick Paul said the area of origin was near the wood stove inside the fabrication shop, but exactly what ignited first is unknown.

The large metal structure contained equipment and other items belonging to the diversified family business.

Fire Mountain raises cattle on other property, but tons of barley to feed them were ruined, along with hundreds of bales of hays which would have been sold, according to Ryan Thode, vice president of operations. Fire Mountain also recycles treatment plant biosolids and lost three dredgers used for clearing lagoons.

Paul said this morning the loss of the building and its contents is close to $1.8 million.

It wasn’t insured, according to Paul.

The fire on the 300 block of state Route 508 was reported just before 8 p.m. on Thursday, and arriving firefighters found the building filled with flames.

The building was large – 150 feet by 40 feet – with a lean-to attached shed on the back and a loft area. The wood stove heated the part of it where they handled their own fabrication needs, according to Paul.

Also inside the structure was his father’s motorcycle room, according to Thode. Two of eight or nine of those were insured, according to Paul. A recreational vehicle that was parked outside and burned also was insured, he said.

For background, read “Napavine area business loses building, equipment in fire” from Friday January 16, 2015, here


Equipment, stored livestock feed and all the contents of the large building lay in ruins. / Courtesy photo by Derrick Paul