2 Hermiston men face stolen vehicle charges

By Tri-City Herald staff and news services February 24, 2012 

HERMISTON -- Two 20-year-old Hermiston men were arrested this week in connection with a series of stolen vehicles in Umatilla County.

Cody Lee Dean and Jeffery Allen Smith were arrested by Pendleton police, and both have been been identified as a person of interest in the vehicle thefts by Umatilla County sheriff's officials.

The stolen vehicles were later found burned around the county. Hermiston Fire and Emergency Services have helped with the investigation.

Sheriff's detectives interviewed Dean and Smith and got evidence to support charges on 12 counts of unauthorized use of a vehicle and other crimes, authorities said.

"This case has been an ongoing investigation for the past few months," Undersheriff Terry Rowan said. "We had some circumstantial evidence against Smith and Dean, but not quite enough to arrest them on the case until more evidence came to light."

Rowan said detectives will continue to investigate the vehicle thefts and will work with the Umatilla County District Attorney's Office on the case.

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