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IRS phone scams continue to be a serious threat

Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain near the top of the annual "Dirty Dozen" list of tax scams for the 2015 filing season, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.

The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent months as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season.

"If someone calls unexpectedly claiming to be from the IRS with aggressive threats if you don't pay immediately, it's a scam artist calling,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "The first IRS contact with taxpayers is usually through the mail. Taxpayers have rights, and this is not how we do business."

Stolen truck catches deputy’s attention

Stolen truck catches deputy’s attention

33-year-old Justin T. Watson was arrested Friday, November 28, after the stolen truck he was driving caught a Spokane County Sheriff Deputy's attention.

At approximately 6:00 p.m. on Friday, Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy David Bratton noticed headlights of a vehicle moving through a field on the north side of State Route 902 in the area of Bartholomew Road.  He used the patrol vehicle’s spotlight to illuminate the vehicle, but it turned north and continued through the field and out of sight.

Deputy Bratton could see the lights of the vehicle in a wooded area in the 6500 block of N. Bartholomew Road.  Watson turned the lights of the vehicle off as Deputy Bratton used his spotlight again.  Watson drove by the patrol vehicle before getting the truck stuck in the field even after Deputy Bratton active his emergency lights.  When Deputy Bratton approached the vehicle, he learned Watson had fled on foot. 

Attorney General secures guilty plea from former prosecutor who helped fugitive

Attorney General secures guilty plea from former prosecutor who helped fugitive

The Attorney General’s Office has reached a plea agreement with a former Spokane deputy prosecutor who helped a man avoid arrest earlier this year.

Today Marriya Wright pleaded guilty to and was sentenced for second-degree rendering criminal assistance, a gross misdemeanor. 

“Prosecutors are held to a high standard in upholding the law, and Ms. Wright’s actions fell short of that,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. “I’m pleased my office secured a result that will hold her accountable.”

Suspects charged for robbery of pizza delivery driver

Spokane County Major Crimes Detective, Justin Elliott, arrested 24-year-old Justin T. Lancaster for the robbery of a pizza delivery driver in Spokane Valley.  A 16-year-old male and a 14-year-old female were booked into Juvenile Detention for assisting during the robbery.

The incident began on November 10th, 2014, at approximately 1:14 a.m., when a driver for Pizza Pipeline attempted to deliver a fictitious order to an apartment in the 15700 block of East 4th Avenue in Spokane Valley.  He contacted the apartment listed, but was told no one ordered pizza.  As he walked back to his vehicle, a male ripped the delivery bag from his hand while a second male grabbed the driver from behind.  The three males involved fled the area.  The driver, who was not injured during the incident, immediately called 911 and several Spokane Valley Sheriff’s deputies responded to the area.  A perimeter was quickly established but a search by a K9 Unit was unsuccessful.  

Search warrant yields drugs/cash

Members of the Spokane Regional Drug Task Force (SRDTF) arrested 46-year-old Herbert Todd III yesterday morning at 511 S. Sullivan for Delivery of a Controlled Substance,  Oxycodone, and Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, Oxycodone.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team assisted the SRDTF in safely securing Todd’s Spokane Valley residence at the Sullivan Court Apartment, 511 S. Sullivan #332.  The SWAT Team was used, in part, because of Todd’s lengthy criminal history, beginning in 1977, which includes arrests for Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, Burglary, and Assault with a Deadly Weapon.

Members of the SRDTF identified Todd, a resident of the Long Beach, California area, as a large scale oxycodone distributor in Spokane Valley.  A lengthy investigation revealed that Todd had been delivering oxycodone in the Spokane area for the past several years. 

Assault suspect's girlfriend arrested for intimidating a witness

Spokane Police officers responded to the Spokane County Courthouse yesterday and took 23-year-old Kaley Hilderbrand into custody for Intimidating a Witness. Hilderbrand’s boyfriend,  28-year-old Lawrence Black, is on trial for a 2013 assault where he allegedly beat two people. Witnesses at the courthouse reported that Hilderbrand followed one of the victims out of the courtroom after the victim’s testimony, cursing at and intimidating her.

After she exited the courtroom, Hilderbrand followed the victim out and began screaming at her. Hilderbrand used profane language. The victim’s family helped escort her out, but Hilderbrand continued screaming at her until they were on the elevator and the doors closed.

Crime Stoppers offers cash reward for information on Nov. 15 robberies

Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is offering a cash reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest of the suspect(s) believed to be responsible for robberies that occurred at the Walgreen’s Pharmacy in Spokane Valley and Albertson’s Pharmacy in the unincorporated area of Spokane County.

The first incident occurred at the Walgreen’s Pharmacy at 15510 E. Sprague Ave, Spokane Valley. An employee reported that on Saturday, November 15, and 4:41 p.m. a male approached the pharmacy counter stating he was armed and wanted all the prescription medication. A weapon was not seen by the employees, and after receiving the medications, the suspect ran from the store. 

The suspect was described as a 20-25 year-old white male, 6’00”, average build, wearing blue jeans, a black coat, gloves, a black knit hat and his face was partially covered.

The second incident occurred later that same day at the Albertson’s Pharmacy at 13606 E. 32nd Ave, Spokane County at 6:50 p.m.