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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."

Sheriff's Deputy catches lamb burglars

Sheriff's Deputy catches lamb burglars

A Spokane Valley Sheriff’s Deputy contacted two suspicious males and arrested both of them for Residential Burglary and Theft 3rd Degree.

On Sunday January 11th, 2015, at approximately 8:00 a.m., Spokane Valley Sheriff’s Deputy Jerad Kiehn noticed two males walking on 14th Avenue carrying large black garbage bags over their shoulders.  Deputy Kiehn, having taken several early morning burglaries and theft reports in the area, decided to contact the males.

Identities of Spokane Valley burglary suspects sought

Spokane Valley Sheriff’s Investigative Unit (SVIU) Detectives are investigating an increase of “Smash and Grab” type burglaries of businesses in Spokane Valley during the last month.


Surveillance video shows the suspects appear to be a male and female team who enter businesses by breaking the front door glass, steal cash drawers and other items that are generally easy to carry before quickly exiting the business. 


Surveillance video taken during one of the burglaries shows the suspects entering with crowbars in hand as they quickly worked together to victimize the business.  Detectives are hoping citizens can identify the suspects from the video and pictures.  


Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is offering a cash reward for anyone providing information leading to an arrest in this incident.  Persons with information should call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-800-222-TIPS, or should submit the tip via the Internet website www.crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org


Short pursuit leads to stolen vehicle recovery

Short pursuit leads to stolen vehicle recovery

A short police pursuit on Wednesday, January 7th, lead to the recovery of a stolen vehicle.

A Washington State Patrol (WSP) trooper was sitting at the intersection northbound of Evergreen at Interstate 90 at approximately 12:30 p.m., when he observed a red passenger car driving recklessly. WSP reported that the car nearly struck several other vehicles at the intersection as it failed to yield, and proceeded to enter I90 westbound. The trooper then activated his emergency lights and siren, but the driver did not stop.

When the vehicle eventually stopped, the driver put his hands outside the driver's window on the westbound Pines off ramp. As the trooper exited his patrol vehicle, the driver sped away down the off ramp turning left onto Indiana Avenue. Troopers executed a felony stop and the driver was taken into custody without incident near the intersection of Indiana and State Route 27.

A check of the vehicle registration revealed the vehicle had been reported as stolen earlier in the day.

New telephone scam targets Vera Water and Power costumers

New telephone scam targets Vera Water and Power costumers

Vera Water and Power said their costumers are the target for a new telephone scam regarding the payment of their bills.


The scam involves a telephone caller who claims to be a Vera Water and Power employee, and then uses a billing and collections scam to defraud costumers.


According to Vera Water and Power, a customer received a phone call on his business line, in which the caller identified himself as a Vera Water and Power employee. The scammer stated that the electric service to the customer’s business would be disconnected if he did not pay $2,000 to cover the cost of a GPS meter and his bill. The scammer then stated that the only method of payment is through a pay card which is purchased at a store.


The customer purchased pay cards, totaling $2,000, then called the scammer back, giving him the pay card digits. The scammer then told the customer his power would not be disconnected. The customer lost $2,000 to the scam.


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.  

Two arrested in connection with Spokane Valley fire

Two male suspects have been arrested in connection with a Spokane Valley fire.

On September 27, 2014, at 11:30 p.m., units from the Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire at 9827 E. Sprague. On arrival fire crews located a fire in a vacant 4 suite strip mall. The fire was located in the middle two suites and attic of the entire building causing estimated $500,000.00 damage. As the fire was being investigated, it was determined to be a suspicious.

Resources from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms assisted with the investigation. After weeks of the joint investigation, we are announcing the arrest of two male suspects. Both of these individuals worked together in planning the arson fire.

Arrested late yesterday was Burk Thomas, 33, of Spokane Valley, who was the prospective new tenant of the strip mall. Arrested on November 10th was Pavel Shevchenko, 24, of Spokane. Shevchenko was doing the remodeling work in the tenant space. Shevchenko has been released on bond.